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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1490465

Hob Uid: 1490465
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Winsford
Grid Ref : SS8651032830
Summary : A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south-west of Knaplock, Winsford parish. This is a type of water meadow known as catchwork or field-gutter system. 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, 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.
More information : A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south-west of Knaplock, centred at circa SS 86513283.
This is a type of water meadow known as catchwork or field-gutter system, commonly found on combe or hill slopes and designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream. The water is carried along the valley sides via one or more channels or gutters and 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 and April.
The system consists of several gutters on the north and south combe slopes of a spring-fed stream, which runs roughly parallel to Watery Lane for approximately 500 metres. Several of the gutters appear to be cut through relict earthwork field boundary banks of possible medieval date. One of the gutters is marked on the first edition Ordnance Survey map, which may support the interpretation that the water-meadow predates 1890. The gutters are still visible on aerial photographs of 1972. (1-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/2082 4037-8 19-MAY-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72314 431-2 16-AUG-1972
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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 SE 73
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