MMO2847 - 19th Century water meadow north of Stetfold Rocks (Monument)

Summary

A 19th Century water meadow is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks associated with Stetfold Rocks Farm. The main body of the water meadow covers an area of circa 2 hectares, with a single long gutter extending to the southeast.

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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 catchwork or field gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks associated with Stetfold Rocks Farm at circa SS 8745 3865. 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. At Stetfold Rocks the main body of the water-meadow is composed of 5 or 6 short gutters covering an area of circa 2 hectares of southeast facing slope to the northwest of the farm. A longer gutter, visible for over 600 metres to the southeast of the farm may be of a type known as a head-main or carriage gutter. It could have operated as a simple water meadow but possibly had a specific, if currently unknown purpose in supplying water to the southwest of the farm. At the time of recording a number of the gutters are still visible but many have been levelled. [1-5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3275-6 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 58/5159 (F22) 0225-6 (4 June 1962).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8738/1 (24928-8) (12 February 2008).
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #32805 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1485108, Extant 22 September 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8760 3860 (783m by 514m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish CUTCOMBE, 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 NE124
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1485108

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 9:27AM

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