MMO3120 - 19th Century water meadow north of Halse (Monument)

Summary

A catchwork water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. It consists of three gutters covering an area of approximately 1.5 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 to the north of Halse, centred at circa SS 8974 3473. 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 three gutters roughly following the contours of a north facing combe slope above the Winn Brook. No springs or streams are marked on the historic maps available to the survey and it is therefore unclear from where the system is fed. Nonetheless, the gutters can be seen to cover an area of approximately 1.5 hectares. The gutters are still visible on aerial photographs of 1973. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 4393-4 (11 July 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73086 780-1 (17 April 1973).
  • <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: #43150 ]

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8973 3465 (234m by 207m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83SE
Civil Parish WINSFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE74
  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 1490471

Record last edited

Apr 11 2021 9:47PM

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