MMO2730 - Post-medieval water meadow nort of Sherracombe Ford (Monument)


A possible post-medieval water meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. This appears to have been a detached system that only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A possible post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks to the north and west of Sherracombe Ford, Brayford. Centred at SS 7198 3677 a pair of roughly parallel curvilinear shallow ditches can be seen, following the contours of the east facing slope above Sherracombe. The gutters are cut by post-medieval boundaries in several places, but also cut through earlier, possibly medieval field boundaries. They extend across two fields, and cover an area of approximately 3 hectares. There are no local farmyards in the vicinity, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. Most catchwater meadows are believed to date to the post-medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [1-3]

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96559 15-16 (7 May 1996).
  • <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 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #33183 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 7194 3675 (592m by 326m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW70
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1484177

Record last edited

Sep 2 2020 2:59PM


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