MMO2996 - Post-medieval water meadow channel north of Sellbed Cross (Monument)

Summary

A simple water meadow of probable post-medieval date can be seen as an earthwork channel on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A simple water meadow of probable post-medieval date can be seen to the south of Withycombe at circa SS 8283 3798 as an earthwork channel, on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards. It is probably a simple example of a type known as a catchwork, ditch gutter or field gutter system, which are typically found on the combe sides or hill slopes of Exmoor. This is a simple example consisting only of a single gutter, but more complex examples are widespread, designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream over the slope via multiple 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. This system was probably supplied with water from a spring issuing to the west of Sellbed Cross. It may be associated with more extensive systems to the north, around Withycombe. [1-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3317-9 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F62) 161-2 (27 April 1964).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NW. MD002191. [Mapped feature: #32761 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488227, Extant 30 August 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8285 3786 (410m by 51m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NW
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW94
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488227

Record last edited

Aug 30 2021 9:37PM

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