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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 932993

Hob Uid: 932993
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Winsford, Withypool and Hawkridge
Grid Ref : SS8589534039
Summary : A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the north-west and south-east of Great Bradley, 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 : Foe details see county SMR (1-4).

A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the north-west and south-east of Great Bradley, centred at circa SS 85783403.

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 east and west facing combe slopes of the stream from Bradley pond to the north, which they probably tapped for their water supply. A possible pond at circa SS 85813404 may be a small reservoir to provide an additional supply, or perhaps a facility add manure to the water supply thereby creating liquid fertiliser to be distributed on the slopes.

The leat that powered Great Bradley's waterwheel can be seen taking a parallel course about 30 metres to the east and could be confused for a gutter.

The gutters cannot be seen on aerial photographs taken after than the 1950s, but this may be due to a limited number of later images and some may survive as earthworks. (5-9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Somerset CC SMR 29-SEP-1986
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Francis P, 1984, A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation Systems, BA dissertation held by Somerset County Planning Department
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Source Number : 3
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : CPE.UK.1980 3359 & 3360 April 1947
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Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Dennison E, 21.06.1984, Somerset County Planning Department
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 4257-8 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/2082 4038-9 19-MAY-1947
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Source Number : 7
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR 540/860 (F20) 4100-1 02-SEP-1952
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Source Number : 8
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 : 9
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 : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34409
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO8565
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 SE 40
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