MSO11801 - 19th Century water meadow south of Litton Farm (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
- None recorded
A water system is visible on aerial photographs around Litton Farm. [1-2] A series of roughly parallel water channels are visible on aerial photographs as earthworks at Litton Farm, formerly Crooked Post, centred on circa SS 8056 3364 about 400 metres to the south-east of Withypool Cross 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. The water meadow is located at the head of a shallow combe and supplied with water by two springs, one to the east of the farm and one to the south. The system is visible at least partially in use on aerial photographs taken in 1964 but by 1973 they appear unused and in need of maintenance. [3-7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <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. 39.
- <2> SEM6707 Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF LHL CPE.UK.1980 3368 (April 1947).
- <3> SEM6707 Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 4250-1 (11 July 1946).
- <4> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F61) 0253-4 (27 April 1964).
- <5> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73086 702-3 (17 April 1973).
- <6> SEM7396 Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
- <7> SMO7580 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW. MD002197.
- <8> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1491900, Extant 2 February 2022.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 806 336 (786m by 276m) Estimated from sources|
|Civil Parish||EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (1)
Related Events/Activities (1)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1491900 (Pastscape entry: 1491900)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO3167
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SW89
- National Park: Exmoor National Park
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1491900
- Somerset SMR PRN: 34373
Record last edited
Feb 2 2022 4:26PM
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