MMO3563 - 19th Century water meadow south of Twitchen Mill (Monument)


Earthwork channels visible on aerial photographs of 1964 are probably part of a water meadow of 19th century date. The system taps the stream south of Twitchen before heading out of the National Park boundary to Barton Wood.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Earthwork channels visible on aerial photographs of 1964 are probably part of a water meadow of 19th Century date. The water channels, known as gutters, form a type of water meadow known as catchwork, catch water 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. Centred within Barton Wood at circa SS 7910 2957, the water meadow system can be seen running from a point to the south of Twitchen village where the northernmost gutter taps the stream at circa SS 7884 3002, to a point circa 300 metres to the north of Barton Bridge where the tree cover becomes too dense and obscures the gutters from view. However, it seems probable that the gutters continue through the woodland and emerge near Barton Bridge. Here the gutters are recorded as a separate water meadow system under NHRE Pastscape reference 1497364. It is probable that this system incorporates the leat recorded on the Devon HER as UID 53973. The current condition of the gutters is unknown. [1-5] The site begins within the National Park boundary but exits at SS 7884 2983 before heading southeast to Barton Wood. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F63) 250-51 (27 April 1964).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <3> Archive: English Heritage. National Monuments Record / AMIE / Monarch entry - viewable via Pastscape. 1497364.
  • <4> Archive: Devon County Council. 1977-. Devon Historic Environment Record. UID 53973.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 72 NE. MD002196.
  • <6> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. Catherine Dove, 16 January 2019.



Grid reference Centred SS 7905 2961 (467m by 805m)
Map sheet SS72NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 53973
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1497370

Record last edited

Jan 16 2019 3:08PM


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