MMO2844 - Post-medieval water meadow north of Exford (Monument)

Summary

A water channel visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork. Only one gutter is visible on this side of the stream and the channel may be known as a head main, which could function as a water supply in addition to a water meadow.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water channel visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork to the north of Exford, at circa SS 8559 3870, is the remains of a simple irrigation system known as a water meadow. It is of the type of water-meadow most common on Exmoor, the catch work 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. Only one gutter is visible on this side of the stream to the north. At over 400 metres in length, the channel may be a type known as a head main, which may also have functioned as a water supply in addition to irrigating the slopes. It is not immediately clear with which farmstead the gutter may be associated, and it may therefore form what is known as a detached system. [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 54/2821 (F63) 157-8 (27 April 1964).
  • <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: #32807 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1485062, Extant 22 September 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8566 3865 (365m by 193m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE121
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1485062

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 9:46AM

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