MMO605 - Post-medieval water meadow southeast of Wintershead Farm (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
- None recorded
A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks across fields southeast of Wintershead Farm, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7744 3665, several gutters are visible stretching across a steep southwest facing slope above an unnamed stream. The gutters extend across five fields, covering an area of some 16 hectares. This system appears to be connected to the farmyard at Wintershead Farm, and possibly Wintershead cottage as well, suggesting that this was an integrated system which distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields, as well as water. Most of the Exmoor "improvement farms" constructed in the mid 19th Century have some form of water meadow system; the land agent employed by the family, Robert Smith, was considered an expert in water meadows, and constructed a great number of them within the former Royal Forest. 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. [1-5]
- <1> SEM6918 Report: Francis, P.T.H.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the "Catch Meadow" Irrigation Systems Found in the Exmoor Region of West Somerset. 38.
- <2> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 4449-50 (11 April 1947).
- <3> SEM7396 Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
- <4> SEM7231 Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 55, 77.
- <5> SMO7573 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7745 3659 (720m by 335m) (Aerial Survey)|
|Civil Parish||EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (0)
Related Events/Activities (0)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1099675 (Original Monarch entry: 1099675)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11794
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6928
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE32
- Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1099675
- Somerset SMR PRN: 34366
Record last edited
Oct 2 2013 3:00PM
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