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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1480403

Hob Uid: 1480403
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Wootton Courtenay
Grid Ref : SS9544142785
Summary : A probable post medieval ditch or leat is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in a field immediately west of West Lodge, Wootton Courtenay. Its precise function is uncertain - it may have been a drainage ditch, similar to that seen in the adjacent field (see NMR UID 1480401) or it may be the remains of a water meadow system, used to irrigate the field and encourage early vegetation growth in the spring.
More information : A probable post medieval ditch or leat is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in a field immediately west of West Lodge, Wootton Courtenay. Centred at approximately SS 9543 4279, the ditch curves in an S-shape, running approximately north-west to south east and roughly following the contours of the slope. The ditch measures some 120 metres in length and up to 3 metres wide, although it may have been spread by plouhing. It appears to drain into a stream to the south, which in turn drains into the River Avill. There is no ditch shown at this location on the first edition Ordnance Survey map, suggesting it was out of use by the time of publication in 1889.
The precise function of this ditch is uncertain - it may have been a drainage ditch, similar to that seen in the adjacent field (see NMR UID 1480401) or it may be the remains of a water meadow system. Catchwater meadows, as they are locally known, used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope 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 large ditch may well have been a "feeder" ditch or headmain for such a system, now lost through ploughing (1-3).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 543/2821 (F65) 141-42 27-APR-1964
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Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500 1889
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Source Number : 3
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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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Drainage Ditch, Water Meadow, Leat
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 94 SE 203
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