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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 974463

Hob Uid: 974463
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exford
Grid Ref : SS8384537679
Summary : A small water-meadow of probable post-medieval date, of a type known as a catch-work, ditch-gutter or field-gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks to the around Chibbet Farm, with which it is probably associated. Such water-meadows are typical of Exmoor and are usually found on combe or hill slopes. They 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 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 to April.
More information : For details see county SMR. (1)

The Somerset HER notes a water-meadow system seen on aerial photographs around Chibbet Post. However, no water-meadow can be seen in this location on the aerial photographs available to the survey. Nonetheless, on aerial photographs of the 1940s a water-meadow of probable 19th century date, of a type known as a catch-work, ditch-gutter or field-gutter system, is visible as earthworks associated with Chibbet Farm, circa 300 metres to the south-west of Chibbet Cross, centred on circa SS 8387 3766.
Such water-meadows are typically 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 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 the March and April.
The water-meadow is visible for over approximately 5 hectares on the south facing slopes of the combe of a small spring-fed stream, overlooking Pennycombe water. The gutters cannot be clearly seen on later aerial photographs and may have been levelled by post-war agricultural improvements. (2-4)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Somerset C C SMR 29 Sep 1986
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3316-7 11-APR-1947
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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 : Levelled Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34388
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO6760
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 NW 38
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
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