MSO11829 - Post-medieval water meadow on south side of River Barle (Monument)


A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs. It is probably associated with the deserted farm of Well.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Water meadow system seen on aerial photographs near the deserted farm of Well (MSO11675). [1,2] A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs on the south side of River Barle at circa SS 8525 3349 near the deserted farm of Well with which it was probably associated. 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 area immediately downslope of the farmstead is incised by numerous footpaths which may obscure further gutters from view. [3-5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3361.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Francis, P.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation Systems. 39.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 3361 (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 SE. MD002198. [Mapped feature: #47155 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 8526 3347 (292m by 227m)
Map sheet SS83SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO359
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8706
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE38
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape / NRHE HOB UID: 932928
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34407

Record last edited

Mar 29 2021 10:47PM


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