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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1488327

Hob Uid: 1488327
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Withypool and Hawkridge
Grid Ref : SS8494036600
Summary : Evidence of a possible water-meadow of post-medieval date is visible on aerial photographs to the north of Weatherslade. Although individual gutters cannot be seen as earthworks, their presence is indicated by a flush of water on the combe slopes. It is probably a simple example of a type of water-meadow known variously as a catch-work, ditch-gutter or field-gutter system. 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 : Evidence of a possible water-meadow of post-medieval date is visible on aerial photographs to the north of Weatherslade, at circa SS 84943660. Although individual gutters cannot be seen as earthworks, their presence is indicated by a flush of water on the combe slopes.
It is probably of a type known as a catch-work, ditch-gutter or field-gutter system, which are typically found on combe or hill slopes. They are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the slope via the 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 system was probably supplied with water by a spring immediately to the west. (1-3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4356-7 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
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) : 01-Apr
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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-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 : Conjectural Evidence

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 NW 108
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