MMO3116 - 19th century water meadow south of Lower Spire Cottages (Monument)

Summary

A small water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. The system may have been associated with Lower Spire Cottages or part of a much larger system associated with Liscombe Farm.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A small water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Lower Spire Cottages, at circa SS 8810 3246. 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. It probably tapped a tributary to the River Barle that flows to the south of the water meadow. However, it is unclear from the aerial photographs alone whether the system was associated with Lower Spire Cottages or is part of a much larger water meadow system to the west associated with Liscombe Farm. If it is a stand alone system it is very small, covering less than one hectare slopes. As this stream also supplied elements of the Liscombe Farm system, a degree of organisation would have been required between settlements. The gutters cannot be seen on aerial photographs of 1972. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 435-6 (16 August 1972).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1944 3164 (23 January 1947).
  • <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: #32714 ]

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8809 3245 (117m by 107m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83SE
Civil Parish DULVERTON, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 1490449

Record last edited

Apr 11 2021 9:56PM

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