MMO838 - Post-medieval water meadow south and west of Great Nurcott Farm (Monument)

Summary

A post-medieval field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1947.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Post-medieval water meadow system to the south and west of Great Nurcott, visible on vertical aerial photographs. [1-2] A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs to the south and west of Great Nurcott Farm, with which it may is probably associated. Although centred at circa SS 9023 3609, the water meadow is quite extensive, with gutters extending over an area of approximately 16 hectares, including eastwards into SS 84 NE. The presence of some gutters to the southeast extent is inferred from visible flooding on photographs of the 1940s. This is 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. Gutters can be seen to the northwest and southeast of Nurcott Lane, on both slopes of the combe of a spring fed tributary of the Exe, from which the water meadow system probably acquired its water. One gutter is marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889, confirming that the system had been constructed prior to this date. Although several gutters appear to be in use on aerial photographs of the 1940s, it is possible many of the remaining gutters had passed out of use by the publication of the 1st Edition map. [1-8] The site was visited in February 2020. One of the leats was still carrying water, running between the pond at SS 9049 3630 until SS90353619, where the waterway had been diverted directly downhill. The continuance of this leat can be viewed on the 1946-8 Royal Air Force aerial photographs, as can areas where water is flushing from various areas of the water meadow system. [9]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1944 4159-60 23-JAN-1947.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 4347-8 11-APR-1947.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA JAS 85042 078-9 29-AUG-1985.
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Francis, P.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation Systems. 40.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4349.
  • <7>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #39596 ]
  • <8> Archive: RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS 93 NW. AF1129721.
  • <9> Report: Dove, C. and Blaylock, S.. 2020. HER Input Form: Great Nurcott Farm site visit.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 9023 3611 (1018m by 363m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS93NW
Civil Parish WINSFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park Authority HER number: MSO8582
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11822
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8582
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8607
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE59
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NW73
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1132207
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 974658
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34400

Record last edited

Feb 26 2020 4:59PM

Feedback?

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