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HER Number:MDV103104
Name:Water meadow north-west of Lower Trayne Farm

Summary

A water meadow of possible 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onward as earthwork ditches to the north-west of Lower Trayne Farm. Known locally as catchwork, catch-meadow or field-gutter systems, such water meadows are typically found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture with water diverted from a spring or stream and passed along series of roughly parallel water channels or gutters, which were caused to overflow when irrigation was required. Their use was particularly important during the hungry gap between March and April.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 537 463
Map Sheet:SS54NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishIlfracombe
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishILFRACOMBE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD NAME (Unknown date)
  • CATCH MEADOW (XIX to XX - 1890 AD to 1904 AD)
  • WATER MEADOW (XIX to XX - 1890 AD to 1946 AD)

Full description

Devon County Council, 1838-1848, Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848, 1406 (Cartographic). SDV349431.

Indicates stream partly further to south on Tithe Map.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1655, NMR RAF/106G/UK/1655 3168-9 11--JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349996.

Three catch meadow gutters are clearly visible as earthworks. Map object partly based on this source.


Next Perspectives, 2007, Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS5346 03-MAY-2007 (Aerial Photograph). SDV350196.

The gutters remain clearly visible as earthworks. Map object partly based on this source.


Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 1845 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Field called 'Coney Park' on Tithe Apportionment and Tithe Map (plot 1406) suggests the former presence of a warren.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011 - 2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

A water meadow of possible 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onward as earthwork ditches to the north-west of Lower Trayne Farm, with which it is probably associated. Three roughly parallel earthwork ditches are visible centred on circa 53804630, roughly following the contours on the south and west facing combe slopes below the Farm. Such water-meadows, known as catchwork, catch-meadow or field-gutter systems, are typically found on combe or hill slopes and are 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 visible gutters probably tapped a spring-fed stream which rises to the east of the farm, and the system probably irrigated an area of less than 2 hectares. The gutters are partly depicted, if not annotated, on the Ordnance Survey second edition 25 inch map but not the First Edition. This might support the interpretation that they were relatively modern creations. The gutters remain clearly visible on digital images derived from aerial photographs taken in 2007, albeit in a grassed over condition. This might support the interpretation that the water meadow remained in use and were well maintained well into the twentieth century.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 1845.
SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011 - 2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349431Cartographic: Devon County Council. 1838-1848. Tithe Mosaic, approximately 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Map. Digital. 1406. [Mapped feature: #62593 ]
SDV349996Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1655. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/1655 3168-9 11--JUL-1946.
SDV350196Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2007. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS5346 03-MAY-2007.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project

Date Last Edited:Aug 19 2016 10:53AM