MMO2544 - 19th Century water meadow south of Tom's Hill Farm (Monument)

Summary

A ditch visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs may be the remains of a 19th Century field gutter, possibly forming part of an extensive water meadow.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A ditch visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs to the south 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 is centred on SS 8130 4284 and can be seen for approximately 300 metres from circa SS 8129 4297 to SS 8137 4270. It probably tapped a spring fed tributary to Long Combe at its western end and terminates at the boundary with the Larkbarrow estate at its eastern end. It appears to continue eastwards into the Larkbarrow Farm estate to form part of an extensive water meadow system, but after about 200 metres the topography would have required an uphill flow, and it is probable that this leat is also fed from the east. It probably formed a water meadow system with five other gutters visible to the north and south of Tom's Hill 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. [1-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3066-7 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 3192-3 (13 May 1946).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #47390 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1478445, Extant 19 July 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8132 4283 (100m by 277m)
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 SW293
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1478445

Record last edited

Jul 19 2021 10:04AM

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