MMO2845 - 19th Century water meadow south of Sharcott Farm (Monument)

Summary

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. It consists of four gutters tapping a spring fed stream which flows down the centre of the valley, with a longer gutter on the west slope of the combe.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date of a type known as a catchwork or field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Sharcott, centred on circa SS 8559 3952. Such water meadows are usually 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. This is a relatively small water meadow, the main body of the system less than two hectares in area and consisting of four gutters on the west facing slope of a narrow combe to the south of the farm. The gutters tap the spring fed stream that flows down the centre of the valley. A longer gutter, visible for about 220 metres on the east facing slope of the combe, may be of a type known as a head main or carriage gutter. It may have operated as part of this water meadow but probably primarily supplied water to a water meadow at Coombe Farm, and most likely joined with, or is the same feature as, a gutter visible circa 100 metres to the southwest. [1-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5] The carriage gutter appears to be visible on the 25 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3279-80 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 54/2821 (F63) 157-8 (27 April 1964).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #32806 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1485085, Extant 22 September 2021.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8549 3946 (299m by 349m) Enhanced using SEM6703
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 NE122
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1485085

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 9:38AM

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