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HER Number:MDV110506
Name:Catch Meadow South of Church Farm

Summary

The indistinct remains of either a single large catch meadow or several smaller but probably connected catch meadows of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1946 as roughly parallel narrow earthwork ditches on the south and west-facing combe slopes south of Church Farm, 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 catch meadow gutters have probably mostly been levelled.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 910 046
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 3260-3261 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Irregular and indistinct earthwork ditches were 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 catch meadows of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of 1946 as roughly parallel narrow earthwork ditches on the south and west-facing combe slopes south of Church Farm, 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.
It is unclear from the aerial photographs alone whether the visible gutters operated as a single large catch meadow or several smaller, but probably connected systems. The water source for the northern section of this catch meadow, from Church Farm to Arscott Cottages, has not been identified. A stream that rises at circa SS912046 probably supplied the lower gutters.
The gutters cannot be seen as earthworks on recent aerial photographs or images derived from lidar, and it is likely that much of the system has 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 3260-3261 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #69937 ]
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 2:30PM