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HER Number:MDV112511
Name:Possible Catch Meadow South of Rull Farm

Summary

A possible simple catch meadow of probable post-medieval to 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as very slight and narrow earthwork ditches on the gentle south-west facing slopes south of Rull Farm.
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.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 044 979
Map Sheet:SY09NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWhimple
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWHIMPLE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (Post Medieval to XIX - 1540 AD to 1880 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3160-61 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Narrow earthwork ditches were visible.


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

A possible simple catch meadow of probable post-medieval to 19th century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as very slight and narrow earthwork ditches on the gentle south-west facing slopes south of Rull Farm.
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 the March and April.
In this instance the water source used to supply the possible catch meadow is unclear. A pond is depicted on the Ordnance Survey first edition 35 inch map circa 30 metres to the north-west of the gutters and might have been used to supply the system. Alternatively, a channel is visible as a ditch cut through a former orchard immediately to the north-west which might have connected the gutters to the farmstead, and thereby possibly operating as an attached system that could have utilised farmyard waste as liquid manure.
The gutters were not visible on more recent images available to the survey and have 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 3160-61 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #71894 ]
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:Jun 12 2015 2:30PM