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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1478445

Hob Uid: 1478445
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8132342837
Summary : A ditch visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs to the north of Tom's Hill Farm, and probably in part used as a footpath, may be the remains of a nineteenth century water channel of a type known as a leat or field gutter, possibly forming part of an extensive water meadow of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system. These 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 ditch visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs to the north of Tom's Hill Farm may be the remains of a nineteenth century water channel of a type known as a leat or field gutter, possibly forming part of an extensive water meadow of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system. The earthwork is centred on SS 81304284 and can be seen for approximately 300 metres from circa SS 81294297 to SS 81374270. It probably tapped a spring-fed tributary to Long Combe at its wester end and terminates at the boundary with the Larkbarrow estate at its eastern end. It appears to continue eastwards into the Larkbarrow Farm estate to form part of an extensive water meadow system, but after about 200 metres the topography would have required an uphill flow, and it is probable this leat is also fed from the east.
It probably formed a water meadow system with 5 other gutters visible to the north and south of Tom's Hill Farm. Such catchwork systems are usually found on steep combe or hillsides and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the valley sides via one or more 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 March and April. (1-3)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 3192-3 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3066-7 11-APR-1947
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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 : Leat, Water Channel, 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 84 SW 293
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 975038
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975043
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975040
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 974864
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975035
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