MMO2991 - Post-medieval water meadow northeast of South Ley (Monument)


A possible simple water meadow of post-medieval date is visible as an earthwork channel.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A possible simple water meadow of post-medieval date is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork channels to the north-east of South Ley on southeast facing slopes above the River Exe, at circa SS 84093868. It is probably a simple variation on the type known as catchwork, ditchcgutter or fieldcgutter systems, which are found typically on combe or hill slopes. They are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via channels or gutters. When more than one gutter was present, they were cut in a roughly parallel arrangement. When irrigation was required the feeder gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow downslope from gutter to gutter, thereby irrigating the pasture. 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. From the aerial photographs and map evidence available to the survey, it is unclear in this instance from where the system was supplied with water. [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) 3281-2 (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 NW. MD002191. [Mapped feature: #32764 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488184, Extant 30 August 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8408 3867 (40m by 42m) 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 NW89
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488184

Record last edited

Aug 30 2021 10:02PM


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