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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 974656

Hob Uid: 974656
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Winsford
Grid Ref : SS8909437320
Summary : A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs on the north facing slopes above Larcombe Brook, Winsford parish. The gutters of the water meadow are visible following the contour of the combe for over 1100 metres. It is unclear with which farms this system was associated. 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 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.
More information : For details see summary. (1-4)
A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs to the south of Ashcombe, on the north facing slopes above Larcombe Brook, Winsford parish. The gutters of the water meadow are visible following the contour of the combe for over 1100 metres and cover an area of approximately 7 hectares centred on circa SS 89123744.
This is a small example of 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.
Despite its size, it is unclear with which farms this system was associated.
It is possible that the construction, maintenance and use of the water meadow was divided between Ashcombe and Lee Farm to the south-east. This may be supported by the apparent dual water supply of the gutters; the gutters may have been fed by springs at Ashcombe and to the south of Lee Farm. (5-9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Francis P, 1984. A Survey and Description of the Catch Meadow Irrigation Systems, BA dissertation. SCPD.
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Source Number : 2
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : CPE.UK.1980 3309 - 3308 April 1947
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Source Number : 3
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1962
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Source Number : 4
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:10000 1979
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 406G/UK/1655 (F20) 3431-2 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3307-8 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 7
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : ENPA JAS 85042 038-9 29-AUG-1985
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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 : 34399
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO8581
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 NE 58
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