HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV107619
Name:Possible Catch Meadow South East of Bowhill Cottages

Summary

A possible catch meadow of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as three or four roughly and narrow parallel earthwork ditches on the west facing slopes of a narrow combe to the south-east of Bowhill Cottages.
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:ST 002 044
Map Sheet:ST00SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBradninch
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRADNINCH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (XIX to XX - 1801 AD to 1946 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3307-3308 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Four or five narrow earthwork ditches or channels are visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1967, OS/67040, OS/67040 V 46-47 18-APR-1967 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356895.

Four or five narrow earthwork ditches or channels are visible.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV356883.

A possible catch meadow of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s and 1960s as three or four roughly and narrow parallel earthwork ditches known as gutters, on the west facing slopes of a narrow combe to the south-east of Bowhill Cottages. A broader ditch or gulley is visible running downslope on the northern edge of the system. This might have been a drain connecting the gutters, but this would be unusual for a catch meadow.
Many 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 often 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 water supply has not been identified in this instance. The gutters and lateral earthwork ditch are visible aerial photographs of 1967 but cannot be seen on more recent images and have probably been levelled.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3307-3308 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #67039 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV356895Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1967. OS/67040. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/67040 V 46-47 18-APR-1967.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6530 - The East and Mid-Devon Rivers Catchment NMP project (Ref: ACD613)

Date Last Edited:Aug 28 2014 3:19PM