MMO3110 - 19th Century water meadow south of Ashway Farm (Monument)

Summary

An extensive water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. Much of the system appears to be associated with Ashway but some of the more southeasterly end may relate to Slade Farm.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An extensive water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks centred on circa SS 8691 3103, to the south of Ashway. 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. Although it is clear that much of the visible system is associated with Ashway, gutters can be seen to continue to the south east for some distance and without further information as to the extent of the farms holdings, it is not possible to tell from the aerial photographs alone exactly where Ashway's water-meadow ends and that belonging to Slade starts. Nonetheless, it is a large undertaking, the gutters that may belong to Ashway covering an area of at least approx 22 hectares. The gutters can still be seen on aerial photographs of 1972 but appear poorly maintained and may have passed out of use. [1-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 372-3 (16 August 1972).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1420 3293-4 (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: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SE. MD002198. [Mapped feature: #42253 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1490414, Extant 1 February 2022.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8706 3087 (680m by 806m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83SE
Civil Parish DULVERTON, 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 SE63
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1490414

Record last edited

Feb 1 2022 4:56PM

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