HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1461591

Hob Uid: 1461591
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7856548450
Summary : A post-medieval water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system can be seen on aerial photographs as a series of roughly parallel ditches or channels, on the valley sides to the south of Ashton Farm.
More information : A post-medieval water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as at least 7 water channels radiating southwards onto both valley sides, from Ashton Farm, Countisbury parish. The water channels, also known locally as gutters, are centred on circa SS 78564845 but cover in total an area of approximately 1.3 hectares.
Catchwork systems are usually found on steep combe sides and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the valley sides via a series of channels or gutters. This water meadow system was possibly fed from a spring immediately to the south of Ashton at circa SS 78554857. When irrigation was required the gutters 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. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream at the valley bottom or was removed by a tail drain. The use of a series of roughly parallel gutters to improve the coverage, as seen here, is a common feature of Exmoor systems.
Although immediately adjacent to the Farmstead the gutters do not appear to pass through it, and the watermeadow is therefore unlikely to be an `integrated system¿, where the water is passed though the farmstead to pick up manure and subsequently distribute this liquid fertaliser on the slopes. It is more likely to be an example of a `detached system¿, where the water meadow distributed only what liquid manure was carried to it.
Similar systems were operating elsewhere by the 17th century but this water meadow is probably 19th century or later in origin, although, this and other water meadows in this area probably continued in use well into the 20th Century (see NMR UID 1461355, 1461359, 1461364, 1461327 and 1461438). (1-3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72065 078-078 15-APR-1972
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
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
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
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
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

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 126
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1461364
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461438
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 : 1461327
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