MMO2999 - Post-medieval water meadow south of Weatherslade Farm (Monument)

Summary

One or more water-meadows of probable post-medieval date may be seen on aerial photographs of the 1940s as earthworks, probably of a type known variously as a catchwork, ditch gutter or field gutter system.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Evidence for one or more possible water meadows of probable post-medieval date can be seen on aerial photographs of the 1940s, as earthworks to the south of Weatherslade, centred on circa SS 8495 3620. It is an 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. These 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 gutters recorded here can be seen in operation on aerial photographs of 1947. The system probably tapped the spring-fed stream that rises to the north of Weatherslade, and distributed the water over an area of at least 4.5 hectares. The gutters remain clearly visible on aerial photographs of the 1970s. A number of footpaths in this area could be easily confused with further gutters, but are clearly aligned upon gates in the hedgerows. [1-5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4356-7 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/860 (F20) 4103-4 (2 September 1952).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA JAS 77041 EXMOOR 77 INFRA-RED 087-88 (20 May 1977).
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 18-9.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NW. MD002191. [Mapped feature: #43888 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488247, Extant 30 August 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8492 3612 (290m by 258m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NW
Civil Parish WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW97
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488247

Record last edited

Aug 30 2021 9:26PM

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