MSO6760 - Post-medieval water meadow at Chibbet Post (Monument)


A post-medieval field gutter system was noted on aerial photographs dating from the 1940s.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water meadow system was seen on aerial photographs around Chibbet Post. [1,2] The Somerset HER noted a water meadow system seen on aerial photographs around Chibbet Post. However, no water meadow can be seen in this location on the aerial photographs available to the survey. Nonetheless, on aerial photographs of the 1940s a water meadow of probable 19th Century date, of a type known as a catchwork, ditch gutter or field gutter system, is visible as earthworks associated with Chibbet Farm, circa 300 metres to the southwest of Chibbet Cross, centred on circa SS 8387 3766. Such water meadows are typically found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters. 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 the March and April. The water meadow is visible for over approximately 5 hectares on the south facing slopes of the combe of a small spring fed stream, overlooking Pennycombe water. The gutters cannot be clearly seen on later aerial photographs and may have been levelled by post war agricultural improvements. [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> Report: Francis, P.T.H.. 1984. A Survey and Description of the "Catch Meadow" Irrigation Systems Found in the Exmoor Region of West Somerset. 37.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4314.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3316-7 (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 NW. MD002191. [Mapped feature: #40648 ]
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 974463, Extant 11 August 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8384 3767 (553m by 172m)
Map sheet SS83NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO379
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 NW38
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 974463
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34388

Record last edited

Nov 17 2021 12:32PM


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