MMO3119 - 19th Century water meadow southwest of Knaplock (Monument)


A 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

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the southwest of Knaplock, centred at circa SS 8651 3283. 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 system consists of several gutters on the north and south combe slopes of a spring-fed stream, which runs roughly parallel to Watery Lane for approximately 500 metres. Several of the gutters appear to be cut through relict earthwork field boundary banks of possible medieval date. One of the gutters is marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, which may support the interpretation that the water meadow predates 1890. The gutters are still visible on aerial photographs of 1972. [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 RAF CPE/UK/2082 4037-8 (19 May 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 431-2 (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: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SE. MD002198. [Mapped feature: #32712 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1490465, Extant 1 February 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8657 3288 (524m by 328m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE73
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1490465

Record last edited

Feb 1 2022 5:23PM


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