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HER Number:MDV107774
Name:Catchmeadow North of Five Fords Farm

Summary

A possible simple catchmeadow system north of Five Fords Farm is visible as a curvilinear earthwork ditch on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards. Slight earthworks appear to survive.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 081 137
Map Sheet:ST01SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCulmstock
Civil ParishUffculme
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, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

No features are depicted in this location, but a water channel with sluices is depicted to the north and west in field parcels numbered 99 and 617.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 4320-4321 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

A curvilinear earthwork ditch is visible.

Next Perspectives, 2002, Pan Government Agreement, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery ST0813 01-OCT-2002 (Aerial Photograph). SDV357064.

A curvilinear earthwork ditch is visible.

Next Perspectives, 2010, Aerial Photography for Great Britain, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery ST0813 22-MAY-2010 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356259.

The earthwork ditch is partially 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 north of Five Fords Farm. It closely follows the contour, dropping less than 5 metres over more than 150 metres. 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 source for this small probable catch meadow system is not clearly apparent from the available aerial photographs, but it may have been taken off a field boundary ditch immediately to the north, or associated with the watercourse to the north-west; this seems to have been regularised and is depicted on the late 19th century maps with several sluices marked. This channel has a very similar appearance and topographic context to the linear earthwork MDV107669 to the north.
Remains of the gutters are not as clearly visible on the most recent available aerial photographs but some slight earthworks appear to survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 4320-4321 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 ST0813 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.
SDV357064Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2002. Pan Government Agreement. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery ST0813 01-OCT-2002. [Mapped feature: #67179 ]

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 12:31PM