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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1099672

Hob Uid: 1099672
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS7680539423
Summary : A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on air photos as a series of earthworks in fields south of Simonsbath Barton, Exmoor. To the north a leat is visible coming from Lime Combe; this leat is depicted on Ordnance Survey 6" and 25" maps. A series of approximately parallel gutters were used 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. This system appears to have been connected to the yard at Simonsbath Barton, suggesting that this was an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields.
More information : A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on air photos as a series of earthworks in fields south of Simonsbath Barton, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7682 3928, the majority of the gutters stretch across two fields immediately north of Simonsbath Barton, on a fairly steep south-facing slope above the River Barle. To the north at SS 7682 3928, a leat is visible coming from Lime Combe; this leat is depicted on Ordnance Survey 6" and 25" maps and 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.
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.
Most of the Exmoor "improvement farms" constructed in the mid-19th century have some form of water meadow system; the land agent employed by the family, Robert Smith, was considered an expert in water meadows, and constructed a great number of them within the former Royal Forest (1-7).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Francis P A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation systems
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 3452-53 11-APR-1942
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Source Number : 3
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : 6" 1962
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1904 25" 45.5
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1980 1:10,000
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Source Number : 6
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Cook, H. and Williamson, T. 2007 "Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation" Windgather Press, Cheshire page(s) 1-7, 28-29
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Source Number : 7
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Orwin, C.S. 1929 "The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest" Oxford University Press, London, page(s) 55, 77
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Water Meadow, Leat
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34365
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO6927
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 73 NE 31
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01