MMO2845 - (Monument)

Summary

A water-meadow of probable 19th century date of a type known as a catch-work or field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Sharcott. 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. The main body of the water-meadow consists of 4 gutters on the west facing slope of a narrow combe to the south of the farm, the gutters tapping the spring fed stream which flows down the centre of the valley. A longer gutter visible on the east facing slope of the combe, possibly of a type known as a head-main or carriage gutter, may have operated as part of this water-meadow but probably primarily supplied water to a water-meadow at Coombe Farm.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water-meadow of probable 19th century date of a type known as a catch-work or field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Sharcott, centred on circa SS 85593952. 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 2 hectares in area and consisting of 4 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 south-west. (1-4)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • --- Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 54/2821 (F63) 157-8 27-APR-1964.
  • --- Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3279-80 11-APR-1947.
  • --- 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. p 1,4: Taylor, C. (2007) The Archaeology of Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Co.
  • --- Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8553 3949 (212m by 294m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1485085

Record last edited

Dec 7 2010 12:07PM

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