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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1479524

Hob Uid: 1479524
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Cutcombe
Grid Ref : SS9422040550
Summary : A water meadow of probable nineteenth century date, of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system, is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs on north-east facing combe slopes to the north of Oaktrow Farm, above a tributary to the River Avill. Field gutter systems are usually found on combe or hill slopes and are intended to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a natural source, such as a spring or stream. The water was carried along the slopes via one or more water channels or gutters and 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.
More information : A water meadow of probable nineteenth century date, of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system, is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs to the north of Oaktrow Farm, cented on circa SS 94224055.
The water meadow is of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system usually found on combe or hill slopes and designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the valley sides via one or more 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 March and April. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream at the valley bottom or was removed by a tail drain.
This system covers an area of almost 2 hectares on north-east facing combe slopes, above a tributary to the River Avill. It was probably fed from a pond or spring to the south of Oaktrow Farm. A second water meadow about 500 metres to the north is probably also associated with Oaktrow Farm.
The gutters remain visible on aerial photographs of the 1970s but field investigation is required to assess their current condition. (1-3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 543/2821 (F63) 0148-9 27-APR-1964
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/70386 343-4 25-SEP-1970
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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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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 94 SW 107
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