MMO3211 - Post-medieval water meadow on Woolcombe Allotment (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1996 as a series of earthworks. This appears to be a detached system which distributed water, rather than manure.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks south of Sherdon Water, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7914 3402, at least twelve leats are visible, mostly running north-south along the contours of a north facing valley above a tributary of Sherdon Water. They cover an area of approximately 10 hectares, but do not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. Most catchwater meadows are believed to date to the post-medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [1-3] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96559 123-24 (7 May 1996).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <3>XY Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 SE. MD002195. [Mapped feature: #33142 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1492751, Extant 29 September 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7923 3401 (367m by 620m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SE70
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1492751

Record last edited

Sep 29 2021 11:43AM


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