MMO2687 - 19th Century water meadow northeast of Well Farm (Monument)


A water meadow of probable 19th century origin is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1947.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A possible water meadow of probable 19th Century origin is visible on aerial photographs immediately to the northeast of Well Farm, centred on circa SS 9447 4209. 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. The gutters of this system follow the contours of a small spur of land northeast of Well Farm, supplied with water from both sides by the spring fed streams that most likely shaped the landscape. It is possible that this is an example of what has been called an integrated system, whereby the water passed through a farmyard to collect manure before distributing it on the slopes. [1-3]

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3198-99 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1; 28-9.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SW. MD002186. [Mapped feature: #32455 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9447 4208 (182m by 197m) (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 SW150
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1482612

Record last edited

Aug 17 2020 9:10PM


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