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HER Number:MDV113663
Name:Catch Meadow North of Bidwell Barton

Summary

A possible former catch meadow of probable medieval to post-medieval date was visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as a curvilinear earthwork ditches on a gentle north-facing slope at Bidwell Barton, Newton St Cyres.
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:SX 904 983
Map Sheet:SX99NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNewton St. Cyres
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishNEWTON ST.CYRES
Ecclesiastical ParishUPTON PYNE

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 RS 4228-4229 04-NOV-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV354994.

Narrow and irregular earthwork ditches or channels were visible.


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

A possible former catch meadow was visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s as the earthwork remains of four narrow and shallow curvilinear earthwork ditches on a gentle north-facing slope at Bidwell Barton, Newton St Cyres.
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 system was probably supplied by the spring-fed stream that rises to the north-east of Bidwell Barton. The gutters are difficult to define on the aerial photographs of 1946 and may not have been maintained for some time by this date. They are not identifiable as earthworks on more recent aerial photographs 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 RS 4228-4229 04-NOV-1946. [Mapped feature: #73010 ]
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:Oct 28 2015 1:38PM