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HER Number:MDV110516
Name:Catch Meadow North of Bowley Wood

Summary

The earthwork remains of a catch meadow of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as narrow ditches on the south-facing combe slopes to the north of Bowley Wood, 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 903 039
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 3261-3262 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Parallel earthwork ditches are visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1969, OS/69075, OS/69075 V 182-183 06-APR-1969 (Aerial Photograph). SDV358002.

The earthwork ditches or gutters remain 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 aerial photographs of the 1940s as narrow ditches on the south-facing combe slopes to the north of Bowley Wood, 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 northern section of the catch meadow was probably associated with the former settlement West Bowley and was probably supplied with water by a gutter or leat that rises immediately to the east of there. The gutters to the south most likely tapped the east flowing stream into which this flowed. The gutters are partly visible on aerial photographs of 1969 but were not noted on more recent photographs or images derived from lidar, and it is likely that 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 3261-3262 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #69948 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV358002Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1969. OS/69075. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). OS/69075 V 182-183 06-APR-1969.

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:Sep 28 2016 2:42PM