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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1488128

Hob Uid: 1488128
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exford
Grid Ref : SS8356839869
Summary : A water-meadow of probable post-medieval date, of a type known as a catch-work, ditch-gutter or field-gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Hill Farm, with which it is probably associated. Such water-meadows are typical of Exmoor and are usually found on combe or hill slopes. They 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 March to April.
More information : A water-meadow of probable post-medieval date, of a type known as a catch-work, ditch-gutter or field-gutter system is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Hill Farm with which it is probably associated.
The system is only fragmentally visible but appears to consist of 2 to 4 gutters centred on circa SS 83603987, on the south-facing slopes above the River Exe. The gutters were probably fed by a spring which rises to the south-east of the farm. It is likely that further gutters may be present but are not visible on the available aerial photographs clearly enough to be transcribed.
Such water-meadows are typically 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. (1-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4314-5 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/73109 1058-9 29-APR-1973
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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
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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 NW 81
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