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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1464948

Hob Uid: 1464948
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Lynton and Lynmouth
Grid Ref : SS7189045845
Summary : A water meadow of probable 19th Century, of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system, is visible as a series of ditches or water channels on aerial photographs to the south of South StockFarm, Lynton and Lynmouth parish. 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 roughly parallel channels or gutters. 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 parallel gutters to improve the coverage, as seen here, is a common feature of Exmoor systems.
More information : A post-medieval water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system was constructed on the west facing slopes above the West Lyn River, to the south and west of South Stock Farm, with which it is probably associated.
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. 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 parallel gutters to improve the coverage, as seen here, is a common feature of Exmoor systems.
This system may be an example of an `integrated system¿, where the water is passed though the farmstead to pick up manure and subsequently distribute this liquid fertaliser on the slopes.
Although the systems in neighbouring farms seem to have passed out of use, this example can be seen in operation on aerial photographs of April 1972. (1-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3071-2 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72065 190-191 15-APR-1972
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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
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Source Number : 4
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details :
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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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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 NW 117
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1464926
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1464945
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1464988
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1464993
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 926211
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