HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 974864

Hob Uid: 974864
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8184142661
Summary : An extensive water meadow system of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system is visible as a series of parallel water channels or gutters cut into the slopes of Long Combe. It was probably created in the mid-nineteenth century as part of the extensive agriculatural improvements in this area associated with Larkbarrow and Toms Hill Farms. The earthworks have been recorded both on the ground and from aerial photographs.
More information : For details see county SMR. (1)

A field gutter system, centred SS 8175 4265, runs westwards along on the steep slopes of Long Combe, below Larkbarrow farmhouse. The system comprises at least five contour leats which are culverted through the field walls and fed by two much larger carriage gutters. These carriage gutters convey water from the springs in Long Combe Head and continue westwards along the slopes of Long Combe (SS 84 SW 95 & SS 84 SW 97). This water management system most probably dates from the mid-19th century. (2)
This field gutter system was recorded at 1:2500 scale using differential GPS at part of an archaeological survey of the Larkbarrow area. The survey was undertaken by the Exeter office of English Heritage at the request of the Exmoor National Park Authority. A client report was produced as part of the survey work and is available from the NMRC, Swindon. (3)

An extensive water meadow of a type known as a catchwork or field-gutter system is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards as a series of parallel water channels or gutters cut into the slopes of Long Combe. The gutters were probably created in the mid-nineteenth century as part of the extensive agricultural improvements in this area associated with Larkbarrow and Toms Hill Farms. It is clear that the catch-water gutters in Long Combe are divided into two systems, those associated with Toms Farm to the west, and those of Larkbarrow farm to the east. The two systems are largely divided along the line of the estate boundary between SS 81414285 and SS 81294240.
The more complex system is within the Larkbarrow estate, the earthworks covering an area of at least 24 hectares. The most coherent section is immediately to the south of the Farm itself, centred on circa 81754268. Five or six gutters run west along the south facing valley slope from a stream fed by a spring at circa SS 82044281. The gutters appear to pass through the gardens of Larkbarrow Cottage, possibly via the culverts described by the above authority. At least one of these gutters continues west into the Toms Farm estate. Two gutters are visible on the north facing combe slopes, centred at circa SS 81674254 and SS 81524257, probably directly abstracting from the Long Combe river. The southernmost of these appears to have been reused as a trackway. Less coherent and smaller scale gutter systems are visible to the east around Long Combe Head, strung between the spring fed streams that feed Long Combe.
Such catchwork systems are usually found on steep combe sides 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.
By the 1960s many of the gutters have been significantly damaged by modern agricultural improvement.
(4-8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Somerset C.C. SMR 29-SEP-1986
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Jamieson, E 2001. English Heritage Field Investigation.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Jamieson, E 2001. Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. English Heritage Survey Report.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3066-7 11-APR-1947
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 (F20) 3103-4 08-NOV-1952
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 543/2821 (F64) 163-4 27-APR-1964
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR SS 8242/16 (15661/3) 08-APR-1997
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
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. 28-29
Page(s) : 28-Sep
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

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 : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34450
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO7028
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SW 121
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 974790
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975038
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975040
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975035
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 975035
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1477946
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478430
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478445
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NAR/SMR DATA EXCHANGE PILOT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1986-01-01
End Date : 1986-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01