MMO3111 - 19th Century water meadow south and west of Slade Farm (Monument)


An extensive water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks.

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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 8784 3074, to the south and west of Slade. 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 Slade, gutters can be seen to continue to the southwest 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 Slade's water meadow ends and that belonging to Ashway starts. Nonetheless, it is a reasonably large system, the gutters covering an area of at least approx 14 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]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1420 3293-6 (15 April 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 371-2 (16 August 1972).
  • <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: #32720 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 8775 3080 (844m by 542m) (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 SE64
  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 1490417

Record last edited

Apr 11 2021 11:37PM


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