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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 974663

Hob Uid: 974663
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Winsford
Grid Ref : SS8733835295
Summary : A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs to the south of Great Ash , with which it may is probably 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. (1-2)

A water meadow of probable 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs to the south of Great Ash Farm, with which it may is probably associated. The gutters are visible extending to the east and west along the slopes above the Winn Brook, covering an area of approximately 19 hectares. It is centred at SS 8751 3525, extends as far west as Little Ash and as far east as SS 8829 3528. The presence of some gutters is inferred from flooding visible on photographs taken in the 1940s.

Bank defined boundaries in the fields immediately to the south-west of the farm buildings may be parts of the system, or could be former field boundaries. A sinuous bank defined boundary in the field to the south east seems to relate to the field gutters.

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 probably taps the Winn Brook for water. Two gutters, marked on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1889, may also be situated to take advantage of spring fed tributaries feeding the Winn Brook from the south. The map evidence also confirms that the system had been constructed prior to 1889. (3-7)

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 3356 and 4352 April 1947
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3298-2 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 4389-90 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : ENPA MAL/77014 083-4 EXMOOR 77 INFRA-RED 20-MAY-1977
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Source Number : 6
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 : 7
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 : 34413
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MSO8583
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 83 NE 61
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