MMO2543 - 19th Century water meadow north of Tom's Hill Farm (Monument)

Summary

A ditch visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs and probably in part used as a footpath may be the remains of a 19th Century leat, possibly forming part of an extensive water meadow of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A ditch visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs to the north of Tom's Hill Farm may be the remains of a 19th century water channel of a type known as a leat or field gutter, possibly forming part of an extensive water meadow of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system. The earthwork can be seen for approximately 580 metres from circa SS 81474307 to SS 80924317, and probably tapped a spring fed tributary to Long Combe at its eastern end. The channel passes through the farmstead of Tom's Hill Farm for about 130 metres and was probably used as a footpath after the water meadow passed out of use. At least five leats can be seen to the south of Tom's Hill Farm, forming an extensive water meadow that extends eastwards to the south of Larkbarrow Farm. Such catchwork systems are usually found on steep combe or hillsides and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the valley sides via one or more channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow, thereby irrigating the slopes. This film of water prevented the ground freezing during the winter and raised the temperature of the grass in the spring, thereby encouraging early growth, particularly important during the hungry gap of March and April. [1-5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3068-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 3311-2 (13 May 1946).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3062-3 (8 November 1952).
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #43443 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1478430, Extant 19 July 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8120 4312 (558m by 105m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW292
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1478430

Record last edited

Jul 19 2021 10:05AM

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