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HER Number:MDV109106
Name:Catchmeadow South-West of Wressing


A probable post-medieval or 19th century catchmeadow system is visible as several linear earthwork ditches branching off a wider central ditch on images derived from lidar data captured between 2005 and 2010. The ditches are visible as dark cropmarks on aerial photographs taken from 1947 onwards.


Grid Reference:ST 060 087
Map Sheet:ST00NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKentisbeare
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishKENTISBEARE

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthwork remains of ditches of a probable catchmeadow of post medieval or 19th century date at Wressing

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.

No features are depicted in this location.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1974, RAF/CPE/UK/1974 FP 4286-4287 11-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356127.

A complex of linear ditches is visible as dark cropmarks.

Environment Agency, 2005-2012, LiDAR DTM data JPEG image (1m resolution), LIDAR ST0608 Environment Agency JPEG DTM 19-DEC-2005 & 05-MAR-2010 (Cartographic). SDV357033.

Several linear earthwork ditches 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 earthworks on images derived from lidar data captured between 2005 and 2010, on the west facing slope south-west of Wressing. They are visible as dark cropmarks on aerial photographs taken from 1947 onwards, with a distinctive pattern created by the overtopping water running downslope.
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.
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 system seems to comprise a number of parallel side gutters closely aligned to the contour and dropping very little in height over their visible extent. These appear to have branched off a central straight gutter aligned perpendicular to the contour. The water source may have originated near the settlement at Wressing, perhaps part of an ‘integrated’ system that that combined manure with water for distribution across the nearby fields.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First 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 4286-4287 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
SDV357033Cartographic: Environment Agency. 2005-2012. LiDAR DTM data JPEG image (1m resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR ST0608 Environment Agency JPEG DTM 19-DEC-2005 & 05-MAR-2010. [Mapped feature: #68443 ]

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 6 2020 6:31PM