MSO8335 - Post-medieval water meadow at Bickham (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 around Bickham Farm, Timberscombe. Centred at approximately SS 951 419 gutters are visible to the south and northeast of Bickham Farm, following the contours of the north and west facing slopes. There are a number of springs and small streams south of Bickham farm which may have supplied water to the system; at least one appears to flow through the yard at Bickham, 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. [1-5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <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. 40.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3196, 3197.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/70381 47-48 (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: #40019 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 9508 4155 (382m by 893m)
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): MMO706
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11944
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE76
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1119599
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34525

Record last edited

Jan 7 2020 5:09PM


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