MMO2849 - Post-medieval water meadow at Horsecombe Farm (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 associated with Horsecombe Farm. 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. The water-meadow is visible covering an area of almost 8 hectares to the south of the farm, 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 catch-work or field gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks associated with Horsecombe Farm, centred on circa SS 88363848. 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)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • --- Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3274-6 11-APR-1947.
  • --- Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. p 28-29: Cook. H. & Williamson, T. (2007) Introducing Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecol.
  • --- Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. p 1: Taylor, C. (2007) The Archaeology of Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Cons.
  • --- Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8813 3850 (669m by 270m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish CUTCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1485121

Record last edited

Jul 31 2013 2:26PM

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