MMO2846 - 19th Century water meadow west of Stone Farm (Monument)

Summary

An extensive water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. It probably closely operated in tandem with the system identified with Prescott Farm.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An extensive 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 west of Stone Farm at circa SS 8627 3879. 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. Approximately 30 gutters are visible at Stone covering an area of up to 20 hectares, cutting the line of several field boundaries, extant and relict. It is probable that more are present but not visible on the available aerial photographs. However, a difficulty exists in identifying the true extent of this system. There is clearly a close relationship and some interaction between the holdings of Stone and Prescott to the northwest and it is unclear from the photographs alone precisely where the division between the two water meadows lies. It is probable that the water meadows for both farms were laid out contemporaneously and there was almost certainly an element of cooperation required in the maintenance and operation of the systems. The extent of the system here identified with Stone is therefore somewhat arbitrary and based on the aerial evidence alone; further work is required to identify the true extent or the farm holdings. [1-6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3278-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 54/2821 (F63) 156-7 (27 April 1964).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8638/9 (NMR 24928/20) (12 February 2008).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8639/1 (NMR 24928/25) (12 February 2008).
  • <5> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <6>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #43368 ]
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1485099, Extant 22 September 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8622 3885 (769m by 452m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE123
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1485099

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 9:29AM

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