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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1485085

Hob Uid: 1485085
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exford
Grid Ref : SS8559039520
Summary : A water-meadow of probable 19th century date of a type known as a catch-work or field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Sharcott. Such water-meadows are usually found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow from gutter to gutter, 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. The main body of the water-meadow consists of 4 gutters on the west facing slope of a narrow combe to the south of the farm, the gutters tapping the spring fed stream which flows down the centre of the valley. A longer gutter visible on the east facing slope of the combe, possibly of a type known as a head-main or carriage gutter, may have operated as part of this water-meadow but probably primarily supplied water to a water-meadow at Coombe Farm.
More information : A water-meadow of probable 19th century date of a type known as a catch-work or field gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Sharcott, centred on circa SS 85593952.
Such water-meadows are usually found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via a series of roughly parallel channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow from gutter to gutter, 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.
This is a relatively small water-meadow, the main body of the system less than 2 hectares in area and consisting of 4 gutters on the west facing slope of a narrow combe to the south of the farm. The gutters tap the spring fed stream that flows down the centre of the valley.
A longer gutter, visible for about 220 metres on the east facing slope of the combe, may be of a type known as a head-main or carriage gutter. It may have operated as part of this water-meadow but probably primarily supplied water to a water-meadow at Coombe Farm, and most likely joined with, or is the same feature as, a gutter visible circa 100 metres to the south-west. (1-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3279-80 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 54/2821 (F63) 157-8 27-APR-1964
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Source Number : 3
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Taylor, C. (2007) The Archaeology of Water Meadows, in Water Meadows; History, Ecology and Conservation, eds. Cook. H. & Williamson, T.
Page(s) : 1,4
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Source Number : 4
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-Sep
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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 83 NE 122
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