MMO2662 - 19th Century water meadow south and west of Elseworthy Farm (Monument)


A water meadow of 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthwork channels or gutters to the south and west of Elseworthy Farm, with which they are probably associated.

Please read the .

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 combe slopes to the south and west of Elseworthy Farm, centred on circa SS 9304 4150. The gutters can be seen extending westwards along both the north and south facing slopes of a narrow combe, from which the majority of the gutters are probably fed with water, for approximately one kilometre. To the west of this area, at circa SS 9353 4177, a small section of the system may be supplied by a spring to the south of Fairgarden Farm, and may in fact belong to that holding. In this same area, the presence of gutters at circa SS 9366 4189 is inferred from a visible flush of water, although the gutters are not visible on the aerial photographs. This 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) 3228-3230 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-29.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186. [Mapped feature: #32469 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9321 4164 (1011m by 527m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS94SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SW125
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1482480

Record last edited

Aug 18 2020 9:26AM


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