MMO2602 - 19th Century water meadow east of East Harwood Farm (Monument)

Summary

An extensive water meadow of probable 19th Century date, of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system, is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An extensive water meadow of probable 19th Century date, of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system, is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs to the east of East Harwood Farm, centred on circa SS 9358 4088. The water meadow is of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system found on combe or hill slopes and designed to irrigate pasture usually 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. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream at the valley bottom or was removed by a tail drain. This system covers an area of around 7 hectares on the east facing combe slopes above the River Avill. The source of the water used is unclear, but it was probably fed from a pond or spring immediately to the east of East Harwood Farm. A even more extensive water meadow can be seen immediately to the south, associated with West Harwood Farm. The gutters remain visible on aerial photographs of the 1970s but field investigation is required to assess their current condition. Two small quarry pits also of probable post-medieval date are visible within the area of the water meadow. [1-5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3228-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3265-6 (11 April 1947).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/79014 062-3 (17 April 1979).
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 28-29.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 9361 4080 (270m by 482m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS94SW
Civil Parish TIMBERSCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SW111
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1479548

Record last edited

Aug 18 2020 11:15AM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.