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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1484177

Hob Uid: 1484177
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brayford
Grid Ref : SS7194336754
Summary : A possible post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks to the north and west of Sherracombe Ford, Brayford. 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. There is no evidence that this system was connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers.
More information : A possible post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks to the north and west of Sherracombe Ford, Brayford. Centred at SS 7198 3677 a pair of roughly parallel curvilinear shallow ditches can be seen, following the contours of the east-facing slope above Sherracombe. The gutters are cut by post medieval boundaries in several places, but also cut through earlier, possibly medieval field boundaries. They extend across two fields, and cover an area of approximately 3 hectares. There are no local farmyards in the vicinity, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers.
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 (1-2).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/96559 15-16 07-MAY-1996
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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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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 73 NW 70
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