MMO2666 - 19th Century water meadow north of Fernhill (Monument)


A series of overlapping narrow ditches visible on aerial photographs may be the remains of water meadows of 19th century date.

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 steep north facing combe slopes to the north of Fernhill, centred on circa SS 9241 4124. A number of ditches overlap, indicating that the water meadow might have been recut on a different alignment on at least one occasion. The gutters were probably supplied with water from a pond at the former settlement of Fernhill and a spring on its northwestern side. 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. [1-2]

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3228-3230 (11 April 1947).
  • <2>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186. [Mapped feature: #32465 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9240 4122 (154m by 150m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS94SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SW129
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1482496

Record last edited

Aug 17 2020 10:00PM


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