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HER Number:MDV110519
Name:Catch Meadow South of Great Bowley, Cadbury

Summary

Previously very extensive catch meadow gutters of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of the 1940 and 1960s as narrow earthwork ditches extending over approximately 10 hectares of south and east-facing combe slopes to the south of Great Bowley, 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 908 038
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.

Curvilinear earthwork ditches are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995 RP, RAF/CPE/UK/1995 RP 1114-1116 13-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356899.

Curvilinear earthwork ditches are visible.


Environment Agency, 1998-2012, LiDAR DSM data JPEG image (1m resolution), LIDAR SS9003 Environment Agency JPEG DSM 14-20 Feb 2012 (Cartographic). SDV357034.

Curvilinear ditches are visible as partial and fragmentary earthworks.


GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Curvilinear ditches are visible as partial and fragmentary earthworks.


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

Very extensive catch meadow gutters of probable post-medieval to early twentieth century date were visible on aerial photographs of 1946 onwards as narrow earthwork ditches extending over approximately 10 hectares of south and east-facing combe slopes to the south of Great Bowley, 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 earthworks could be interpreted as three individually manageable systems. The two largest sections were probably fed by the streams that flowed from the west, and north-west of Great Bowley. The smallest section was probably fed from the eastern side of the main stream into which the others fed, which flowed north-east of Great Bowley.
The gutters remained visible on aerial photographs of 1969 and some sections could be discerned as earthworks on digital photographs and images derived from lidar data captured in 2010 and 2012. It is probable that some of the gutters survive as shallow earthwork ditches or narrow terraces.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
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: #69951 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV356899Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995 RP. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1995 RP 1114-1116 13-APR-1947.
SDV357034Cartographic: Environment Agency. 1998-2012. LiDAR DSM data JPEG image (1m resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SS9003 Environment Agency JPEG DSM 14-20 Feb 2012.

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 3:21PM