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:MDV107623
Name:Possible Catch Meadow South of Highdown

Summary

A small catch meadow of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as several roughly parallel short and narrow earthwork ditches on combe slopes to the south of Highdown.
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 010 048
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 3306-3307 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

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 small catch meadow of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date is visible on aerial photographs of 1946 as three roughly parallel short and narrow earthwork ditches on west-facing combe slopes to the south of Highdown..
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 small catch meadow system tapped the spring-fed stream that flows immediately to the west, and that rises a few metres to the north. The gutters are not identifiable on more recent aerial photographs 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 3306-3307 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #67043 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.

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 4:37PM