MMO2998 - Post-medieval water meadow north of Withypool (Monument)

Summary

An earthwork channel visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s is probably the remains of a simple water meadow of post-medieval date.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An earthwork channel visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s to the north of Withypool is probably the remains of a simple water meadow of post-medieval date. Centred on circa SS 8434 3702, on the higher west facing slopes above Pennycombe Water, it is probably a simple example of a type known as a catchwork, ditch gutter or field gutter system, found typically on the combe sides or hill slopes of Exmoor. They were designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters, although simple examples consisting of only a single gutter are common. 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 gutter can be seen in operation on aerial photographs of 1947, although its water source is unclear. It cannot be seen on later aerial photographs and may have been levelled by post war agricultural improvements. [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) 3317-8 (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: #32760 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488234, Extant 30 August 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8435 3701 (52m by 94m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NW
Civil Parish WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, 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 NW96
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488234

Record last edited

Aug 30 2021 9:30PM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.