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HER Number:MDV108249
Name:Catch Meadow West of St Disen’s Church, Bradninch

Summary

A possible catch meadow of possible post-medieval to nineteenth century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards as roughly parallel narrow earthwork ditches on the slopes of a shallow combe to the west of St Disen’s Church, Bradninch.
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:SS 997 041
Map Sheet:SS90SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBradninch
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRADNINCH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (Post Medieval to XIX - 1540 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

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

The catch meadow is not depicted but a reservoir can be seen located at the head of the system.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 4246-4247 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Earthwork ditches were visible. Map object based partly on this source.


BKS Surveys Ltd, 1967, BKS/2822, BKS/2822 V 2893-2894 14-MAR-1967 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354836.

Earthwork ditches were visible. Map object based partly on this source.


Next Perspectives, 2010, Aerial Photography for Great Britain, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SS9904 22-MAY-2010 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356259.

Very slight earthwork ditches remained 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 possible post-medieval to nineteenth century date was visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards as roughly parallel narrow earthwork ditches on the slopes of a shallow combe to the west of St Disen’s Church, Bradninch.
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.
In this instance the water supply was not visible but it is probable the system was supplied by the same source that supplied a reservoir, depicted at the head of the combe on the Ordnance Survey first edition 25 inch map. The gutters were identifiable as very slight and grassed over earthworks on digital images derived from aerial photographs taken in 2010.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV354836Aerial Photograph: BKS Surveys Ltd. 1967. BKS/2822. BKS Surveys Ltd. Photograph (Paper). BKS/2822 V 2893-2894 14-MAR-1967.
SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 4246-4247 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 SS9904 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:Oct 14 2016 11:50AM