MMO2657 - Post-medieval ditch or leat west of West Lodge (Monument)

Summary

A probable post-medieval ditch or leat is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork. It may have been a drainage ditch or may be the remains of a water meadow system.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A probable post-medieval ditch or leat is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in a field immediately west of West Lodge, Wootton Courtenay. Centred at approximately SS 9543 4279, the ditch curves in an S shape, running approximately northwest to southeast and roughly following the contours of the slope. The ditch measures some 120 metres in length and up to 3 metres wide, although it may have been spread by plouhing. It appears to drain into a stream to the south, which in turn drains into the River Avill. There is no ditch shown at this location on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, suggesting it was out of use by the time of publication in 1889. The precise function of this ditch is uncertain - it may have been a drainage ditch, similar to that seen in the adjacent field (MMO2656) or it may be the remains of a water meadow system. Catchwater meadows, as they are locally known, used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope 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 large ditch may well have been a "feeder" ditch or headmain for such a system, now lost through ploughing. [1-4] Lush mark showing former stream course. [5-6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F65) 141-42 27-APR-1964.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <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 94 SE. MD002187. [Mapped feature: #32491 ]
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. CPE/UK/1980 3197 (April 1947).
  • <6> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS9542F.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 9544 4278 (121m by 52m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS94SE
Civil Parish WOOTTON COURTENAY, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE203
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1480403

Record last edited

Jan 22 2020 12:52PM

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