MMO3108 - 19th Century water meadow south and east of East Hollowcombe Farm (Monument)


A catchwork or field gutter system of probable 19th century date and associated with East Hollowcombe Farm is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs but appears to have passed out of use by 1972. It covers an area of over four hectares.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks centred at circa SS 8604 3052, to the south and east of East Hollowcombe farm. This is a type of water meadow known as catchwork or field gutter system, commonly found on combe or hill slopes and designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream. The water is carried along the valley sides via one or more channels or gutters and 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 March and April. The gutters cover an area of over 4 hectares. They mirror a second, possibly slightly smaller system associated with West Hollowcombe Farm immediately to the west, with which it may have shared a water supply. The gutters remain visible on aerial photographs of 1972 but appear poorly maintained and may have passed out of use. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 335-6 (16 August 1972).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1420 3292-3 (15 April 1946).
  • <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 SE. MD002198. [Mapped feature: #42234 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 8609 3049 (231m by 281m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE61
  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 1490395

Record last edited

Apr 11 2021 10:11PM


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