MSO11837 - 19th Century water meadow southeast of Cutthorne Farm (Monument)

Summary

A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. Its maintenance and operation may have been shared between Cutthorne and West Stowey Farms.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow system was seen on aerial photographs around Cutthorne Farm. [1,2] A water meadow of probable 19th Century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Cutthorne and West Stowey, centred on circa SS 8955 3878. 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. The gutters are visible on the south facing slopes of a narrow combe that runs west to east immediately to the south of Cutthorne and West Stowey. 12 gutters can be seen covering an area of approximately 5 hectares. The western part of the system was probably supplied by a spring that issues at Cutthorne, the remainder tapping the resultant streams which ultimately drain into the River Quarme to the east. Although probably built as a single system it is likely that it was planned to allow both farms to divide the maintenance and operation of the water meadow system was between them. [3-6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4305.
  • <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 Unpublished document: Francis, P.. 1984.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) 3272-3 (11 April 1947).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 597-8 (17 April 1973).
  • <5> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <6>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 NE. MD002192. [Mapped feature: #47510 ]
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974747, Extant 1 September 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8955 3878 (690m by 190m)
Map sheet SS83NE
Civil Parish CUTCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO407
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9242
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NE63
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974747
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34415

Record last edited

Sep 1 2021 5:01PM

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