MSO8654 - Post-medieval water meadow system at Gupworthy Farm (Monument)


A post-medieval field gutter system at Gupworthy Farm, 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 at Gupworthy Farm, Withycombe. Centred at approximately SS 992 408, gutters are visible in two fields immediately north of the farm, apparently following the contours of the north facing slope. The gutters appear to have been fed from a spring visible within the yard at Gupworthy Farm, 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. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <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. 41.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3219, 4286.
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SE. MD002187. [Mapped feature: #40016 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 992 409 (292m by 223m)
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO703
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11935
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE72
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1119549
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34516

Record last edited

Jan 7 2020 5:04PM


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