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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1461600

Hob Uid: 1461600
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7725948118
Summary : An extensive 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 and interconnected ditches or channels, on the south bank of the East Lynn River, to the east of Leeford.
More information : An extensive post-medieval water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as numerous water channels on the south bank of the East Lynn River, to the east of Leeford, Brendon parish. The water channels, also known locally as gutters, are centred on circa SS 77314812, but cover in total an area of almost 6 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 probably fed via a headmain which connected with a spring-fed stream to the east, at circa SS 77474787, within Oldfield Copse.
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.
Between Leeford Lane and the East Lyn River, at circa SS 77424817, the gutters appear less regular and may interconnect with naturally formed palaeo-channels. An alternative interpretation may be as a small area of floated watermeadow, but this is unlikely.
Although not visibly associated with a particular farmstead, the headmain runs in close proximity to Waterlet Linhay, and may therefore function as an `integrated system¿, where the water is passed though the stock enclosure to pick up manure and distribute this fertaliser on the valley slopes. It is possible that the watermeadow is also connected with Longmeadow Linhay, at circa SS 771481.
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/95026 089-090 12-MAR-2007
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Figs. :
Plates :
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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. :
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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 127
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 31117
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 31127
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461364
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461438
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461933
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461947
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1461591
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