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HER Number:MDV108890
Name:Catchmeadow West of Ponchydown Farm


A possible catchmeadow system west of Ponchydown Farm is visible as several curvilinear earthwork ditches and low banks on aerial photographs taken in 1947 and 1989.


Grid Reference:ST 090 087
Map Sheet:ST00NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKentisbeare
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishKENTISBEARE

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, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

No features are depicted in this location.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1974, RAF/CPE/UK/1974 FP 4291-4292 11-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356127.

Several curvilinear earthwork ditches are visible.

Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89276, OS/89276 V 277-278 14-JUN-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV357047.

Several curvilinear earthwork banks are just visible.

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

Several curvilinear earthwork ditches, less than 2 metres wide, are visible on aerial photographs taken in 1947 on a west-facing slope west of Ponchydown Farm. They are partial but appear to be broadly parallel to each other and aligned roughly along the contour. Their location and alignment indicate that they could have been the gutters of a catchmeadow system of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date. Low earthwork banks are just visible in these locations on aerial photographs taken in 1989, perhaps upcast from cutting the gutters.
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 clear from the available aerial photographs; the gutters may be taken from the watercourse on the north, and possibly also the south, edge of the field. The field has since been cultivated, but slight earthwork remains may 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).
SDV356127Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1974. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1974 FP 4291-4292 11-APR-1947. [Mapped feature: #68229 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV357047Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89276. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/89276 V 277-278 14-JUN-1989.

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 11:11AM