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HER Number:MDV108891
Name:Possible Catchmeadow West of Pool House


A possible post-medieval or 19th century catchmeadow system west of Pool House is visible as several curvilinear cropmark ditches on aerial photographs taken between 1947 and 1989.


Grid Reference:ST 087 089
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? (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.

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

Two curvilinear cropmark ditches are visible.

Royal Air Force, 1950, RAF/541/534, RAF/541/534 RP 4074-4075 30-MAY-1950 (Aerial Photograph). SDV357615.

Numerous curvilinear cropmark ditches are visible.

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

Two dark curvilinear cropmarks are visible.

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

A network of curvilinear ditches, less than 2 metres wide, is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs taken in 1950, on a combe slope west of Pool House. They closely follow the contour, and their location and alignment indicate that they could have been the gutters of a catchmeadow system of probable nineteenth or early twentieth century date. Two of the gutters are visible on earlier and later aerial photographs, taken in 1947 and 1989 respectively.
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 appears to be a meandering channel in the centre of the field, which is partly visible on the available aerial photographs, and this may have originated at Pool House, perhaps part of an ‘integrated’ system that that combined manure with water for distribution across the nearby fields. The gutters appear to have been taken off this main channel, creating a ‘feathered’ or leaf-shaped layout.

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.
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.
SDV357615Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1950. RAF/541/534. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/541/534 RP 4074-4075 30-MAY-1950. [Mapped feature: #68230 ]

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 13 2020 5:05PM