MSO11836 - 19th Century water meadow southeast of Codsend (Monument)


A water meadow irrigation system of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Water meadow system seen on aerial photographs around Codsend Farm. [1] A water meadow irrigation system of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on the south of Codsend, centred on circa SS 8874 3967. As visible on the available photographs, the water meadow is relatively small, consisting of only 2 gutters up to 105 metres long, but it is possible further are present and not visible. Alternatively, any additional gutters may have been destroyed by later improvements; earlier records may have confused drains to the north of Codsend with further gutters. The gutters probably tapped a spring fed stream, a tributary to the Quarme, which rises circa 500 metres to the east, near Hawkington Farm. This is an 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. [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. (F20) 4304-5.
  • <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 Unpublished document: Francis, P.. 1984.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/1980 (F20) 3273-4 (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 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #47511 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974666, Extant 1 September 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8875 3967 (95m by 76m)
Map sheet SS83NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO406
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9241
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE62
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974666
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34414

Record last edited

Sep 1 2021 5:36PM


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