MMO2343 - Catchwater meadow system, above Ashcombe Bottom, Exmoor (Monument)

Summary

A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks on the eastern slopes above Ashcombe Bottom. A series of approximately parallel gutters were used to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks on the eastern slopes above Ashcombe Bottom. Centred at approximately SS 7736 4001, the system consists of three, possibly four gutters, and a feeder leat, or "headmain." This headmain appears to connect with the artificial leats visible to the north (see NMR UID 1475732). This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters were used to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. This particular water meadow most likely dates to the mid 19th century and is part of the Knight family's agricultural improvements in the area. A land agent employed by the family from 1848 onwards was considered a leading expert in water meadows and irrigation (1-3).

Sources/Archives (4)

  • --- Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96507 30-31 30-MAR-1996.
  • --- Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. Orwin, C.S. 1929 "The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest" London, Oxford University Press page(s) 55, 77.
  • --- Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. Cook, H. and Williamson, T. 2007 "Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation" Cheshire, Windga.
  • --- Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7746 4007 (263m by 406m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SE
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1475762

Record last edited

Mar 26 2018 10:37AM

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