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HER Number:MDV123456
Name:Catchmeadow north-west of Pridhamsleigh, Ashburton


A curvilinear earthwork ditch, visible on aerial photographs taken in 1948, is interpreted as the remains of a post-medieval or 19th century catchmeadow gutter.


Grid Reference:SX 747 678
Map Sheet:SX76NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishAshburton
Ecclesiastical ParishSTAVERTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CATCH MEADOW (Post Medieval to XIX - 1540 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

South West Heritage Trust, 1838-1848, Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments (Cartographic). SDV359954.

No features are depicted in this exact location.

Royal Air Force, 1948, RAF/CPE/UK/2494, RAF/CPE/UK/2494 RP 3137-3138 11-MAR-1948 (Aerial Photograph). SDV361461.

A curvilinear earthwork ditch is visible.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2018-2019, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (AI&M) (Interpretation). SDV361305.

A narrow curvilinear earthwork ditch, less than 2 metres wide, is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1948 on combe slopes north-west of Pridhamsleigh. It follows the contour, dropping less than 5 metres over a visible 160 metre length and may have been a catchmeadow gutter of nineteenth century date. It appears to originate from a water channel to the north, at circa NGR 274727,67960, which is depicted on the late-19th century maps and itself seems to have been taken off a watercourse at circa NGR 274627,68180. It is not visible on any of the later available aerial imagery and the earthworks may have been levelled.
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.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV359954Cartographic: South West Heritage Trust. 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Digital.
SDV361305Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2018-2019. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (AI&M). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV361461Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1948. RAF/CPE/UK/2494. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/2494 RP 3137-3138 11-MAR-1948. [Mapped feature: #114176 ]

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7515 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey (Ref: ACD1748)

Date Last Edited:Nov 19 2018 3:29PM