MMO2982 - Post-medieval water meadow south of Westermill Farm (Monument)


A simple water meadow of probable post-medieval date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Westermill Farm, with which it is probably associated.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow of probable post-medieval date, of a type known as a catch work, ditch gutter or field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Westermill Farm with which it is probably associated. The system is transcribed as three gutters centred on circa SS 8229 3973, descending the north facing slope to the south of the farm, although in this instance it is likely that further gutters may be present but are not clearly visible enough on the available aerial photographs to be transcribed. 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. A section of the highest gutter is depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, indicating that the system probably predates 1889. The gutters are not clearly visible on any aerial photographs after 1946, and may have been levelled. [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 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4060-1 (13 May 1946).
  • <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 NW. MD002191. [Mapped feature: #32771 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488125, Extant 1 September 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8228 3972 (199m by 178m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW80
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488125

Record last edited

Sep 1 2021 12:10PM


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