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HER Number:MDV107681
Name:Catchmeadow South of Henborough Farm


A simple catchmeadow system south of Henborough Farm is visible as a curvilinear earthwork ditch on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards, and depicted on late nineteenth century mapping. Earthworks are very likely to survive.


Grid Reference:ST 089 145
Map Sheet:ST01SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCulmstock
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCULMSTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (XVIII to XIX - 1701 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

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

A curvilinear feature is depicted. Map object partly based on this source.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 4320 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

A curvilinear earthwork ditch is visible. Map object partly based on this source.

Environmental Assessment Services Limited, 2004, Broadpath Electricity Easement Near Collumpton, Devon: Archaeological Assessment, 22; Figure 2c (Report - Assessment). SDV351652.

A surface anomaly was observed in Field xxiii - see Appendix A: Site Survey No. 16 and Appendix B: Figure 2c. This comprises a circa l0 metres wide and c irca 1-2 metres deep linear depression, running north-west/south-east for a distance of about 40 metres on the west side of the field (ST 0880 1447). The feature is most likely to be a former stream bed as the area around the hamlet of Prescott encompasses a number of springs.

Next Perspectives, 2010, Aerial Photography for Great Britain, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery ST0814 22-MAY-2010 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356259.

A dark linear earthwork is visible.

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

A narrow curvilinear earthwork ditch, less than 2 metres wide, is visible on aerial photographs taken from 1946 onwards on a combe slope south of Henborough Farm. It closely follows the contour, dropping approximately 5 metres over more than a 700 metre length. The location and alignment along the contour indicate that this was a gutter of a small catchmeadow system of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date.
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.
This small catch meadow system appears to have been taken off the nearby watercourse at ST0909214911. Earthworks appear to survive, but the water channel has not been transcribed as it is depicted on the historic mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV351652Report - Assessment: Environmental Assessment Services Limited. 2004. Broadpath Electricity Easement Near Collumpton, Devon: Archaeological Assessment. Environmental Assessment Services Limited. A4 Stapled + Digital. 22; Figure 2c.
SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 4320 04-NOV-1946.
SDV356259Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2010. Aerial Photography for Great Britain. Aerial Photography for Great Britain Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery ST0814 22-MAY-2010.
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:May 14 2020 12:32PM