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HER Number:MDV110509
Name:Catch Meadow South of Beer’s Farm, Cadbury

Summary

The earthwork remains of a catch meadow of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on a small number of aerial photographs of the 1940s and 1960s as roughly parallel narrow ditches on the south and west-facing combe slopes south of Beer’s 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 907 050
Map Sheet:SS90NW
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.

Parallel earthwork ditches are visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1967, OS/67040, OS/67040 V 24-25 18-APR-1967 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356895.

Earthwork ditches remained partly visible.


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

The earthwork remains of a catch meadow of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on a small number of aerial photographs of the 1940s and 1960s as roughly parallel narrow ditches on the south and west-facing combe slopes south of Beer’s 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.
The system was probably supplied with water by a spring-fed stream that rises to the north-west of the farm and at least two further channels that drain the slopes south of the farm; the gutters can be seen to lead from at least one of these channels.
The gutters were visible only as very indistinct earthworks on the aerial photographs of 1946 which might support the interpretation it had not been maintained for a considerable period of time. Some gutters could still be seen on aerial photographs of 1967 but were not noted on more recent photographs or images derived from lidar, and it is likely that much of the catch meadow earthworks have 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: #69940 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV356895Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1967. OS/67040. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/67040 V 24-25 18-APR-1967.

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 2:49PM