MMO2849 - 19th Century water meadow southwest of Horsecombe Farm (Monument)


A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks associated with Horsecombe Farm. It covers an area of almost 8 hectares, cut into the south facing slopes above Larcombe Brook.

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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 Horsecombe Farm, centred on circa SS 8836 3848. 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. In total the water meadow is visible covering an area of almost 8 hectares. However, in terms of construction it is split into two sections. Five parallel gutters are visible fed by a spring immediately to the south of the farm. To the west two longer gutters can be seen, tapping the brook and also using water from to streams rising to the north. [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 CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3274-6 (11 April 1947).
  • <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: #32803 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1485121, Extant 22 September 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8813 3850 (669m by 270m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE126
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1485121

Record last edited

Sep 22 2021 9:12AM


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