MSO6303 - Post-medieval water meadow at Sloe Combe (Monument)


A post-medieval field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1947.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks at Sloe Combe, Wootton Courtenay. Centred at approximately SS 958 435, three gutters are visible located on a steep north-east facing slope and following the contours of the slope. A small stream is visible west of the gutters, which most likely supplied water to the system. This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. Most catchwater meadows are believed to date to the post-medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [1-5] It may be associated with the nearby deserted farmstead (MSO6250). [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Report: Francis, P.T.H.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the "Catch Meadow" Irrigation Systems Found in the Exmoor Region of West Somerset.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3195.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/70380 163-64 (23 September 1970).
  • <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 94 SE. MD002187. [Mapped feature: #40020 ]
  • <6> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council staff comments. E Dennison, 10 July 1984.



Grid reference Centred SS 958 434 (264m by 147m)
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO707
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11945
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE77
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1119602
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34526

Record last edited

Jan 15 2020 5:05PM


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