HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV110572
Name:Catch Meadow South and East of Bidwell Farm

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 roughly parallel narrow ditches on the slopes of a narrow, east-facing combe, south and east of Bidwell Farm and Bidwell Cottages.
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 934 030
Map Sheet:SS90SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishThorverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTHORVERTON

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 3255-3256 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Curvilinear ditches are visible as earthworks.


Devon County Council, 1984, DAP 3519, DAP 3519/09 03-JUL-1984 (AW) (Aerial Photograph). SDV358009.

Curvilinear ditches remain visible as slight earthworks.


Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89162, OS/89162 V 649-650 08-MAY-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356894.

Curvilinear ditches are visible as earthworks.


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

Curvilinear ditches remain visible as slight earthworks.


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 roughly parallel narrow ditches on the slopes of a narrow, east-facing combe, south and east of Bidwell Farm and Bidwell Cottages.
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 from two springs that rise to streams at the head of the forked combe south of Bidwell. The gutters were visible covering an area of nearly 5 hectares. At least two possible ponds are depicted on the Ordnance Survey Second Edition 25 inch map on the slopes south of Bidwell and it is possible the catch meadow operated as an attached system, utilising farmyard waste as liquid fertiliser.
The gutters were visible as slight and fragmentary earthwork ditches on digital images derived from aerial photographs of 2010, but it is likely that most of the catch meadow earthworks have been levelled.

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 3255-3256 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #70003 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV356894Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89162. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/89162 V 649-650 08-MAY-1989.
SDV358009Aerial Photograph: Devon County Council. 1984. DAP 3519. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). DAP 3519/09 03-JUL-1984 (AW).

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 24 2015 11:45AM