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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1461364

Hob Uid: 1461364
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7650047468
Summary : A water meadow of probable 19th Century date, of a type known locally as a catchwork system, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters cut into the valley side to the north of Lower Tippacott, Brendon parish.
More information : A water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system is visible on aerial photographs of 1947 onwards as a series of roughly parallel channels, or gutters, cut into the north and west facing slopes of a combe, at the mouth of which is located a farm at Lower Tippacott. The water meadow is centred on circa SS 76464743. However, many of the gutters are only partly visible and the entire complex covers an area of at least 7 hectares.
Catchwork systems divert water from a spring or stream along a series of channels or gutters to irrigate pasture, usually on fairly steep combe sides. When irrigation was required the water was caused to overflow from the gutters, 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. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream or was removed by a tail drain. On Exmoor this system was commonly enhanced by a series of parallel gutters which encouraged a more even flow, as can be seen operating here at Lower Tippacott in April 1947. This system also appears to be an example of an `integrated system¿, whereby the water was passed though a farmyard to pick up manure, and subsequently wash the now liquid fertilizer onto the meadow sides.
This water meadow is probably 19th Century in date, although similar systems were operating elsewhere by the 17th Century. Very similar systems to the west, at Cranscombe Farm and Shilstone farm (see NMR UID 1461355 and 1461359), were probably laid out at a similar time. (1-5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3045-3046 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/910 (F20) 3098-3099 17-OCT-1952
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/95026 090-92 12-MAR-1995
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Source Number : 4
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Taylor, C. (2007) The Archaeology of Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservation, eds. Cook. H. & Williamson, T.
Page(s) : 1
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Source Number : 5
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Cook. H. & Williamson, T. (2007) Introducing Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservation, eds. Cook. H. & Williamson, T.
Page(s) : 28-29
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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
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NE 113
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1461438
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461451
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461471
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461974
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1462004
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461591
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461600
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461355
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461359
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461402
Relationship type : General association

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