MSO6927 - Post-medieval catchwater meadow at Simonsbath Barton (Monument)


A post-medieval field gutter system around Simonsbath Barton and a leat running from Lime Combe to Simonsbath Barton, visible on aerial photographs.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

A water meadow system is visible on aerial photography around Simonsbath Barton. [1, 2] A leat is shown on the 1904 and 1962 Ordnance Survey maps as coming from Lime Combe. [3, 4] The leat from Lime Combe is only partly shown on the 1980 Ordnance Survey map. [5] A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks in fields south of Simonsbath Barton, Exmoor. This is centred at approximately SS 7682 3928, the majority of the gutters stretch across two fields immediately south of Simonsbath Barton, on a fairly steep south facing slope above the River Barle. To the north, a leat is visible coming from Lime Combe, which presumably fed water to the system. This leat appears to pass through the yard at Simonsbath Barton, indicating that this may have been an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields. Most of the Exmoor ‘improvement farms’ constructed in the mid 19th Century have some form of water meadow system. The land agent, Robert Smith, was considered an expert in water meadows, and constructed a great number of them within the former Royal Forest. [2, 6-9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <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. 38.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. LHL CPE/UK/1980 3452 & 3453 (April 1947).
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Somerset 45(5).
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560. Somerset.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1980. 1:10000 Map, 1980. 1:10000.
  • <6> Technical drawing: King, L.K.. Annotated Record Map.
  • <7> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <8> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 55, 77.
  • <9>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190. [Mapped feature: #37769 ]
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1099672, Extant 22 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE31
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1099672
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34365



Grid reference Centred SS 767 394 (419m by 462m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 22 2021 4:29PM


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