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HER Number:MDV105084
Name:Watermeadow In The Arch Brook Combe

Summary

A catch meadow of probable nineteenth century or earlier date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s to 1960s as parallel earthwork ditches on the west-facing slopes of the Arch brook combe. Catch meadows are usually found on combe or hill slopes and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream and passing it 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 below.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 910 716
Map Sheet:SX97SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHaccombe with Combe
Civil ParishStokeinteignhead
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishCOMBEINTEIGNHEAD
Ecclesiastical ParishSTOKEINTEIGNHEAD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (Early Medieval to XX - 1066 AD to 1946 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

The gutters are not depicted but a higher level channel, possibly a headmain, is depicted.


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

The gutters are not depicted but a higher level channel, possibly a headmain, remains depicted.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp1 5007 12-JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352279.

Several curvilinear earthwork ditches are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1824, RAF/CPE/UK1824 3185-3186 4-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352344.

Parallel earthwork ditches or channels are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1960, RAF/58/3510, RAF/58/3510 F22 131-132 22-APR-1960 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352221.

The parallel earthwork ditches or channels are less clearly visible.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

A catch meadow of probable nineteenth century or earlier date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s to 1960s as parallel earthwork ditches on the west-facing slopes of the Arch brook combe.
The visible gutters are not depicted on the First and Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch maps, but a possible headmain or top-gutter is, depicted running northwards from a pond adjacent to Mill Bottom Plantation, almost one kilometre to the south.This might support the interpretation that the watermeadow remained in use into the twentieth century.
Most catch meadow systems are believed to date to the post medieval period, although it is likely that they were first developed in the medieval period and many continued in use into the twentieth century. Catch meadows provided a simple, inexpensive and effective form of irrigation. When irrigation was required water was diverted from a source such as a pond, river, spring or spring-fed stream and passed along the meadow slopes via one or more of the gutters, which was then caused to overflow. The lower, roughly parallel gutters then ‘caught’ and redistributed water passing it evenly over the surface of a meadow below. The gently flowing water prevented the ground freezing in winter and encouraged early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock, particularly important during the hungry gap of the March and April.
The gutters remain visible as unmaintained earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1960s but are not visible on later images available to the survey and might have been levelled. Only those earthworks within or crossing the survey area have been transcribed.


Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2018-2019, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (Interpretation). SDV361305.

Additional leats of this catchmeadow are visible as curvilinear earthwork ditches on aerial photographs taken in 1946, to the south of those previously identified in the 2013-2014 RCZA survey.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV352221Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1960. RAF/58/3510. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/58/3510 F22 131-132 22-APR-1960.
SDV352279Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp1 5007 12-JUL-1946.
SDV352344Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1824. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK1824 3185-3186 4-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #64545 ]
SDV361305Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2018-2019. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)
  • EDV7515 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey (Ref: ACD1748)

Date Last Edited:Aug 15 2018 11:09AM