MMO2841 - Post-medieval water meadow southeast of Exford (Monument)


Earthworks visible on aerial photographs indicate the presence of a post-medieval water meadow. It is unclear with which farmstead the gutters recorded may be associated and they may therefore form what is known as a detached system.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Earthworks visible on aerial photographs indicate the presence of a post-medieval water meadow on the south facing slopes above the River Exe, just over 1 kilometre to the southeast of Exford. Water channels known as gutters can be seen centred approximately on SS 8653 3786, forming a type of water meadow known as a catchwork or field gutter system. 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. Three gutters can be seen, following the contours of the combe slope to the north of Lyncombe Wood. They could feasibly tap two spring fed streams which flow to either side of the water meadow. However, it is unclear with which farmstead this system was associated and it may therefore be what is known as a detached water meadow. [1-3] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3311-21 (11 April 1980).
  • <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 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #32810 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1485051, Extant 22 September 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8653 3787 (306m by 87m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE118
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1485051

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 9:58AM


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