MMO2661 - Possible 19th Century water meadow southwest of Well Farm (Monument)


A possible water meadow of nineteenth century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks heading into an orchard. Two or three very narrow gutters can be seen on the north facing slopes.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on the higher slopes to the southwest of Well Farm, centred on circa SS 9416 4196. It is unclear from where the gutters are supplied with water. They appear to be associated with a wider ditch or gulley that curves around them to the north for almost 200 metres before possibly continuing into the orchard to the south of the farm. Although not marked on any map available to the survey, this earthwork may be evidence for a regulated spring fed water source. It is a type of water meadow known as catchwork or field gutter system, commonly found on combe or hill slopes and designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream. The water is carried along the valley sides via one or more channels or gutters and when irrigation was required the gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow, from gutter to gutter, 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. [1-3]

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3198-99 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 58/2665 (F21) 0073-5 (8 January 1959).
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186. [Mapped feature: #32470 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9416 4197 (183m by 76m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS94SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SW124
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1482472

Record last edited

Aug 18 2020 9:29AM


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