MMO3038 - Post-medieval water meadow north of Newhouse (Monument)


A water meadow of probable post-medieval date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1950s.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow of probable post-medieval date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1950s, to the north of Newhouse, Withypool, at circa SS 8447 3525. Three roughly parallel water channels, known as gutters, can be seen descending the combe slopes. Visible for over 60 metres long, the gutters are between 17 and 30 metres apart. The gutters form a type known as a catchwork, ditch gutter or field gutter system, which are typically found on combe or hill slopes. They are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via the 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. The gutters were probably supplied with water by a spring located in a shallow combe approximately 75 metres to the southeast. [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 540/890 (F2) 3016-7 (3 October 1952).
  • <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: #32732 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1488508, 23 August 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8450 3523 (107m by 131m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NW
Historic Parish WITHYPOOL

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW137
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1488508

Record last edited

Oct 12 2021 11:00AM


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