MSO11820 - 19th Century water meadow southwest of Lower Kemps Farm (Monument)


A catchwork water meadow system of probable 19th Century date was noted on aerial photographs.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Water meadow system seen on aerial photographs around Lower Kemps Farm. [1] A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs to the southwest of Kemps Farm, with which it may is probably associated. The system is relatively small, composed of four gutters up to approximately 75 metres in length, covering an area of less than 1 hectares centred on circa SS 8912 3624, now the plot of Kemps Cottage. This is a small 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. It is unclear from the aerial photographs and maps available to the survey for where the system was fed, but on the basis with other examples in this area it is likely a spring is located in the vicinity of Kemps Farm. [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: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4348-50.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Francis, P.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation Systems. 40.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF/CPE/UK/1944 4162-3 (23 January 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: #46980 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974654, Extant 21 September 2021.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO402
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8580
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE57
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974654
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34398



Grid reference Centred SS 8911 3623 (120m by 134m)
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Sep 21 2021 2:47PM


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