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HER Number:MDV112514
Name:Possible Catch Meadow North of Holway Farm

Summary

A possible simple catch meadow of probable post-medieval to 20th century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as slight and narrow earthwork ditches on the gentle south-west facing slopes north of Holway 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 047 978
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 XX - 1540 AD to 1947 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1823, RAF/CPE/UK/1823 RP 3159-3160 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Linear earthwork ditches were visible.


Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995 RS, RAF/CPE/UK/1995 FS 13-APR-1947 13-APR-1947 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356938.

Linear earthwork ditches were visible. Water can be seen overflowing from the uppermost ditch.


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 20th century date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as slight and narrow earthwork ditches on the gentle south-west facing slopes north of Holway Farm. The system can be seen in use on aerial photographs of April 1947.
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.
The system appears to be supplied with water by a channel or gutter from Holway Farm, which might support the interpretation that the catch meadow could have utilised farmyard waste as liquid manure and therefore possibly operated as what has been termed an attached system.
The possible 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 3159-3160 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #71897 ]
SDV356883Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2014-2015. East and Mid Devon River Catchments National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV356938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995 RS. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1995 FS 13-APR-1947 13-APR-1947.

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 3:51PM