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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1468929

Hob Uid: 1468929
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Challacombe
Grid Ref : SS6991141247
Summary : A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks in fields to the east of Twitchen Farm, Challacombe. 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 be connected to the farmyard at Twitchen Farm, suggesting that this was an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields.
More information : A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks in fields to the east of Twitchen Farm, Challacombe. Centred at approximately SS 6989 4120, seven gutters are visible located on a fairly gentle west-facing slope. The gutters vary in length from 55 to 100 metres and in width from1.5 to 3 metres. In some places the gutters are overlain by post medieval field boundaries, depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. According to the owner in 2008, Ms Helen Asher, the gutters were fed by a spring located next to the farmyard pond, and were still in use when her father farmed at Twitchen during the middle years of the 20th century. This was apparently an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure and slurry from the farmyard to the fields.
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. 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 (1-4).

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.
(5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/2082 3102-03 19-MAY-1947
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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 : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500 1889
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Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Ms Helen Asher communication by email 03-MAR-2008
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Source Number : 5
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
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 64 SE 133
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