MSO7374 - Post-medieval water meadow northeast of Bagley (Monument)

Summary

A post-medieval field gutter system is shown on historic mapping and visible on aerial photographs.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Water meadow system seen on aerial photographs to the northeast of Bagley. [1,2] May be associated with the deserted farm which is nearby (MSO7338). [3] Leat shown on Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 1962 6 inch map. [4] Well preserved leat in field on the north side of East Water where it is shown as a dotted line on the Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 map. Passes through an area of woodland and bends round a gully. From there it is ploughed out, although it is faintly visible in the fields to the wesr as only one or two leats. [5] A leat or water channel is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork on the south facing slope of Bagley Combe, running above East Water towards Cloutsham Ball. It is fed from Bagley Combe at circa SS 8809 4257, and centred on circa SS 8860 4289. It is possibly of a type known as a head main, the function of which primarily seems to have been to supply the settlements on the fringes of the moor with fresh water from the upland springs. Several extensive head mains have been recorded on Exmoor, the longest examples reaching several kilometres in length. This earthwork is just over one kilometre in length and may have supplied the pasture above Cloutsham Farm with water. However, head mains may also have had a dual function, acting as a simple catch water systems when required. Usually found on combe sides or hill slopes, catchwater water meadows are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via one or more channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the channels were blocked, causing water to overflow, 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. This channel is marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889 and is therefore, at the latest, 19th Century in date. [6-11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <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. 39.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. LHL CPE/UK/1980 3173 (April 1947).
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 4 July 1984.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Annotated corrections on Ordnance Survey map. As specified. Ordnance Survey 1962 6 inch map, SS84SE.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 3 March 1986.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 583/2821 (F65) 0152-3) (27 April 1964).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106/G/UK/1655 4092-3 (F20) (11 July 1946).
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA ADAS 505/380 (8 August 1991).
  • <9> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <11>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185. [Mapped feature: #41628 ]

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 885 429 (840m by 738m)
Map sheet SS84SE
Civil Parish LUCCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO2278
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11882
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE73
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 36147
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34460

Record last edited

Mar 4 2020 11:06AM

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