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HER Number:MDV110490
Name:Catch Meadow South of Fursdon House, Cadbury

Summary

The indistinct remains of a catch meadow of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as several roughly parallel narrow earthwork ditches on the south-west facing combe slopes south of Fursdon House, Cadbury. 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. The southern two thirds of the system has probably been levelled.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 919 045
Map Sheet:SS90SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCadbury
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCADBURY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (Post Medieval to XX - 1540 AD to 1946 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3258-3259 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Subtle narrow earthwork ditches are visible.


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

The indistinct remains of a catch meadow of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as several roughly parallel narrow earthwork ditches on the south-west facing combe slopes south of Fursdon House, Cadbury.
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 March and April.
In this instance the water source for the catch meadow is unknown. It is possible it tapped the stream that rises to the west, near Terley Farm. Alternatively, a pond at circa SS918047 may have been the source, although this is not depicted on the Ordnance Survey First Edition 25 inch map and might therefore be a modern creation.
The gutters are not visible on the aerial photographs available to the survey that post-date 1946 and have probably been levelled.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV354994Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1823. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3258-3259 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #69922 ]
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:Mar 23 2015 12:57PM