MSO6994 - Post-medieval water meadow south of Sherdon Farm (Monument)


A series of catchwater leats are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs taken in 1973. These are probably of 19th Century date and appear to have been connected to Sherdon Farm, suggesting an integrated system.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Centred at SS 7904 3442 on the west facing slopes of a steep north-south valley, running south from Sherdon Farm is a system of catchwater leats. At least two leats are visible for a distance of some 550 metres as far as Sherdon Cottage. They are presumably contemporary with Sherdon Farm which dates from the 19th Century. [1] A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks south of the 19th Century Sheredon Farm, Exmoor and thought to be contemporary with it. Centred at approximately SS 7904 3442, at least five leats are visible extending across a west facing slope above a tributary of Sherdon Water. This system appears to be connected to the farmyard at Sherdon, suggesting that this was an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields. 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. [2-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 January 1995.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73086 766-67 (17 April 1973).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-29 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 SE. MD002195. [Mapped feature: #40692 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 909008, Extant 25 September 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7913 3461 (311m by 541m)
Map sheet SS73SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO302
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11796
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SE13
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 909008
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34368

Record last edited

Sep 25 2021 10:01PM


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