MMO2839 - (Monument)

Summary

A post-medieval water-meadow of a type known as catch-work or field-gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on Road Hill, on the steep south-west facing slopes above the River Exe. Such water meadows are typically found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters. 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 the March and April. It is unclear with which farmstead this system was associated and it may therefore be what is known as a detached system.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post-medieval water-meadow of a type known as catch-work or field-gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on Road Hill, on the steep south-west facing slopes above the River Exe. Centred approximately on SS 86193673 the system is composed of two gutters that are visible following the contours of the combe side for over 700 metres from the spring-fed stream that is their source. Such water meadows are typically found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters. 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 the March and April. It is unclear with which farmstead this system was associated and it may therefore be what is known as a detached system. The gutters also cut the line of, and therefore post-date, several earthwork field boundaries of probable medieval or post-medieval date. (1-4)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • --- Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 567-8 17-APR-1973.
  • --- Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3426-7 11-JUL-1946.
  • --- Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. p 28-9: Cook. H. & Williamson, T. (2007) Introducing Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecolo.
  • --- Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. Taylor, C. (2007) The Archaeology of Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservat.
  • --- Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8604 3686 (405m by 455m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish WINSFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1485042

Record last edited

Dec 15 2010 2:18PM

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