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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1491916

Hob Uid: 1491916
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Withypool and Hawkridge
Grid Ref : SS8492031800
Summary : A small water-meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the south of Hill Farm, Withypool and Hawkridge parish. The water-meadow predates the modern farm and is possibly associated with a deserted farmstead formerly located immediately to the west, in area occupied by Huntercombe Linhay on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1890. Such water-meadows, known as catchwork or field-gutter systems, 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 : earthworks to the south of Hill Farm, Withypool and Hawkridge parish, centred on circa SS 84923180.
Such water-meadows, known as catchwork or field-gutter systems, are usually found on combe or hill slopes and are 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 water-meadow predates the modern farm and might have been associated with the deserted medieval or post-medieval farmstead of Huntercombe, formerly located immediately to the west of the gutters in the area occupied by Huntercombe Linhay on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1890.
The water meadow consists of at least 6 roughly parallel gutters. However evidence of different phases of use may be visible as recutting of the gutters on different alignments. The system was probably supplied with water by the spring-fed stream around with it is arrayed. The gutters cannot be seen on the images available on Google Earth at the time of Survey and have probable been levelled. (1-5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR CPE/UK/2082 (F20) 3040-1 19-MAY-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/72314 430-1 16-AUG-1972
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Source Number : 3
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : http://earth-google.com
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Source Number : 4
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 : 5
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 : Levelled Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 SW 93
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 35825
Relationship type : General association

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