MMO398 - 19th Century water meadow at Coombe Farm (Monument)

Summary

A water meadow irrigation system of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. It probably taps a spring-fed stream, a tributary to the Exe, which rises to the north of Sharcott Farm.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow system was noted on aerial photographs around Coombe Farm. [1,2] A water meadow irrigation system of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on the combe slopes adjacent to Coombe Farm, centred on circa SS 8527 3913. This is an example of 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 water meadow probably taps a spring fed stream, a tributary to the Exe, which rises circa 420 metres to the north of Sharcott Farm. The extension southwards of a gutter from the water meadow at Sharcott farm may support the interpretation that this system was physically interconnected with the Sharcott Farm system. Although this connection cannot be confirmed from the aerial photographs, it is probable that at the very least their proximity would have required close coordination in the timing their use for maximum benefit to both holdings. [3-5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: KING, LK. Aerial photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 F20 4311 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Report: Francis, P.T.H.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the "Catch Meadow" Irrigation Systems Found in the Exmoor Region of West Somerset. 39.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 F20 3279-80 (11 April 1947).
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #43359 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974641, Extant 21 September 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8530 3915 (149m by 282m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11816
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6772
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE53
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974641
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34394

Record last edited

Sep 21 2021 4:28PM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.