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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1466829

Hob Uid: 1466829
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Challacombe
Grid Ref : SS6831940394
Summary : A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow system, is visible on aerial photographs to the east of Challacombe Mill. 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 connnected to a ruined building and small enclosure at SS 6838 4048, and may have been an integrated system, which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser across the fields.
More information : A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow system, is visible on aerial photographs to the east of Challacombe Mill. Centred at approximately SS 6837 4040, up to ten gutters are visible on both sides of a fairly steep south facing above an un-named stream or combe. The gutters vary in length from 90 to 146 metres, and are between 1 and 3 metres wide. This system appears to have been connnected to a ruined building and small enclosure at SS 6838 4048, and may have been an integrated system, which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser across 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.
One of the gutters at SS 6828 4037 has been recorded on the Devonshire Historic Environment Record as a leat associated with the nearby Challacombe Mill. From the aerial photographs the gutter is clearly part of the water meadow system, but it may also have been related to the Mill (1-2).

Parts of the Post Medieval water meadow described above were mapped as part of an air photo interpretation project in Challacombe environs. Some additional gutters were transcribed.
(3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/73109 1001 29-APR-1973
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Cook, H and Williamson, T 2007 "Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservation" Windgather Press, Cambridge page(s) 1-7, 28-29
Page(s) : 1-7, 28-29
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Source Number : 3
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Helen Winton/20-DEC-1999/RCHME: Challacombe, West Devon
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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 (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 32591
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 64 SE 70
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: CHALLACOMBE, WEST DEVON
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1999-12-01
End Date : 1999-12-01
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01