MMO2607 - 19th Century water meadow south of North Combe Farm (Monument)

Summary

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

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date, of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of North Combe Farm, centred on circa SS 9179 4038. 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 approximately 2 hectares on the steep combe slopes of a tributary to the River Avill to the south of North Combe Farm. The water meadow is in two sections. That to the southwest of the farm is probably fed by a pond within the farmyard and may have utilised manure to improve the nutrients supplied to the pasture. The gutters directly to the south of the farm, on the west facing combe slopes, probably directly tapped the tributary stream at at least three points. This is one of three water meadows in close proximity identified within the relatively small area of this combe. Its extent and postulated association with North Combe Farm is suggested based upon the pattern of field boundaries alone and is not definitive. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3268-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 58/5159 (F21) 231-2 (4 June 1962).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-29.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186. [Mapped feature: #32478 ]

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 9175 4036 (173m by 361m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS94SW
Civil Parish CUTCOMBE, 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 SW116
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1479623

Record last edited

Aug 18 2020 10:44AM

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