MMO2899 - Post-medieval water meadow east of Cornham Farm (Monument)

Summary

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. This system likely dates to the mid 19th Century with the Knight family's agricultural improvements.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks east of Cornham Farm, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7541 3929, six gutters are visible either side of a large central leat. The leat runs approximately east-west downslope towards Bale Water, while the gutters run along the contours of slope. This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. Most of the Exmoor improvement farms constructed in the mid 19th Century have some form of water meadow system; the land agent employed by the family, Robert Smith, was considered an expert in water meadows, and constructed a great number of them within the former Royal Forest. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F63) 173-74 (27 April 1964).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <3> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 55-56.
  • <4> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7542 3925 (214m by 285m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NE
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE102
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1486616

Record last edited

Mar 20 2014 3:03PM

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