MMO2670 - 19th Century water meadow northwest of Spangate (Monument)


A probably 19th Century water meadow is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs immediately to the north of the deserted farm at Spangate, with which it was probably associated.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A probably 19th Century water meadow is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks, on the north facing slopes above a tributary to the River Avill, immediately to the north of the deserted farm at Spangate. The system is centred approximately on SS 92061415, but extends westwards along the combe for about 300 metres and covers an area of roughly 2 hectares. It is very probable that the water meadow was associated with the farm at Spangate (MSO11771). 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) 3231-2 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186. [Mapped feature: #32461 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9196 4152 (312m by 216m) (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 SW133
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1482520

Record last edited

Aug 17 2020 9:51PM


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