MMO3005 - Post-medieval water meadow southwest of Newland Ford (Monument)


A possible water meadow of probable post-medieval date can be seen on aerial photographs of the 1940s.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A possible water meadow of probable post-medieval date can be seen on aerial photographs of the 1940s, as very subtle earthworks on the valley slopes to the north of Combe Gate, centred on circa SS 8346 3517. It is probably of a type typically found on the combe sides or hill slopes of Exmoor, known as a catchwork, ditch gutter or field gutter system, and covers an area of less than one hectare. Catchworks 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. Due to the subtlety of the features on the available aerial photographs, it is likely that the water meadow is probably only partially transcribed. Gutters not visible to the survey probably extend further to the southeast and tap the spring fed stream which rises some way to the south on Withypool Common. [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) 4359-60 (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: #32756 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488274, Extant 30 August 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8346 3516 (81m by 128m) 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 NW103
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488274

Record last edited

Aug 30 2021 9:03PM


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