MMO3329 - Post-medieval water meadow at Lower and Higher North Heasley (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. This system appears to be an integrated system connected to the two farmyards.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

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 Lower and Higher North Heasley, North Molton. Centred at approximately SS 7338 3315, at least four gutters are visible following the contours of the south and southwest facing spur above a small stream or brook. They extend across four fields, covering an area of some 4.7 hectares and were apparently fed from a small spring which lies between the two farms. The system appears to be connected to the two farmyards, suggesting that this was an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields. It also indicates a degree of cooperation was required between the owners or tenants of the two farms to operate the system. 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 51-52 (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: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 SW. MD002194. [Mapped feature: #33116 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1493811, Extant 1 December 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7339 3325 (365m by 410m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SW69
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1493811

Record last edited

Dec 1 2021 4:54PM


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