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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 974467

Hob Uid: 974467
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exford
Grid Ref : SS8262538392
Summary : A 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 south of Newland, 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. This is one of numerous water-meadows recorded in this area, further examples known immediately to the north-west and south-east.
More information : For details see county SMR. (1)

A water-meadow of probable 19th century date, of a type known as a catch-work or field gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as earthworks associated with Higher Thorne, centred on circa SS 8265 3841.
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 appears to tap a tributary to Pennycombe water and comprise up to 3 roughly parallel gutters on the south-east side of the stream, visible over approximately 3 hectares. A single fourth gutter is visible on the north-west side of the stream.
The gutters are not clearly visible on later aerial photographs, which may indicate that the gutters were levelled in the years following the Second World War.
This is one of numerous water-meadows recorded in this area, further examples known immediately to the north-west and south-east, at Ashott Barton and Withycombe. (2-5)

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 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4061-2 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4315-7 11-APR-1947
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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 : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 34390
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO6762
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 NW 40
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