MMO3171 - 19th Century water meadow south of Hill Farm (Monument)

Summary

A small water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. It predates the modern farm and is possibly associated with a deserted farmstead formerly located immediately to the west.

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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 Hill Farm, Withypool and Hawkridge parish, centred on circa SS 8492 3180. Such water meadows, known as catchwork or field-gutter systems, are usually found on combe or hill slopes and are 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 water meadow predates the modern farm and might have been associated with the deserted medieval or post-medieval farmstead of Huntercombe, formerly located immediately to the west of the gutters in the area occupied by Huntercombe Linhay on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1890. The water meadow consists of at least 6 roughly parallel gutters. However evidence of different phases of use may be visible as recutting of the gutters on different alignments. The system was probably supplied with water by the spring-fed stream around with it is arrayed. The gutters cannot be seen on the images available on Google Earth at the time of Survey and have probable been levelled. [1-5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR CPE/UK/2082 (F20) 3040-1 (19 May 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 430-1 (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> Website: HEGARTY. World Wide Web page. http://earth-google.com.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW. MD002197.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8499 3185 (329m by 441m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83SW
Civil Parish WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 1491916

Record last edited

Apr 19 2021 11:05PM

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