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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1468959

Hob Uid: 1468959
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Challacombe
Grid Ref : SS6974841520
Summary : A post medieval leat or water channel is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in fields to the north of Yarbury Combe, Challacombe. Its form and position suggest it may represent the remains of a water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, which used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow. This prevented freezing in winter and encouraged early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock.
More information : A post medieval leat or water channel is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in fields to the north of Yarbury Combe, Challacombe. Centred at approximately SS 6974 4151 the leat runs east-west, following the contours of the south-west facing slope above Yarbury Combe. It measures approximately 83 metres long, and cuts through a number of medieval strip lynchets (see NMR UID 1301286)
The form and position of this leat would seem to suggest it represents the remains of a water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow. These used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow, which prevented freezing in winter and encouraged early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. A spring is depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map just to the north-west of the leat at SS 6971 4156 which may have provided water to the system (1-3).

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
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Source Number : 3
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500 1889
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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 : Leat, Water Channel, Water Meadow
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 64 SE 137
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
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