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HER Number:MDV42593
Name:Drains and Sluices on Seaton Marshes

Summary

The drainage for the southern part of the marshes was reorganised by works in 1851-3. New drains were cut and sluices were installed to control the water for drainage or irrigation. Deep drains and narrow parallel earthwork furrows are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs from the 1940s onwards and are visible on the ground.

Location

Grid Reference:SY 251 908
Map Sheet:SY29SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAxmouth
Civil ParishColyton
Civil ParishSeaton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLYTON
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMOUTH
Ecclesiastical ParishSEATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY29SW/251
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DRAINAGE SYSTEM (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))
  • SLUICE GATE (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1412, RAF/106G/UK/1412 RP 4301-4302 13-APR-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352504.

An extensive network of deep ditches and narrow parallel linear furrows is visible as earthworks.

Royal Air Force, 1963, RAF/58/5607, NMR RAF/58/5607 F21 342-343 22-JAN-1963 (Aerial Photograph). SDV355896.

An extensive network of deep ditches and narrow parallel linear furrows is clearly visible as earthworks under snow cover and in low light conditions.

Parkinson, M., 1985, The Axe Estuary and its Marshes, 35 (Article in Serial). SDV122290.

Drainage work in Seaton marshes in 1851-53 reorganised the drainage of the southern part of the marshes, with new drains cut. The whole area was underdrained with tile drains and sluices made at crucial points on the internal drains, to control supply for drainage and irrigation.

Griffith, F., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 52-53 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1993, Archaeological Appraisal of the Salt Industry on Seaton Marshes, East Devon, 5 (Report - non-specific). SDV120092.

Turton, S. D., 1994, Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Axe Estuary Local Nature Reserve, 6 (Report - Assessment). SDV120094.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2013 - 2014, South Devon Coast RCZAS National Mapping Programme Project Site Visit, 09-MAY-2014 (Site Visit). SDV351142.

The drains are clearly visible as earthwork ditches.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

An extensive network of narrow parallel linear furrows is visible across most of Seaton Marshes on aerial photographs taken from the 1940s onwards. These are likely to be a result of drainage during the nineteenth century period of reclamation, but it is possible that more than one phase is represented. The reclaimed area is divided into segments by deep drainage channels, some straight and clearly of anthropogenic origin, whilst others are curved or sinuous and probably modified palaeochannels. The spacing and alignment of the earthwork furrows varies between these parcels, probably reflecting differences in topography, as well as possibly phasing. Most are aligned cross-contour, between 4 and 8 metres apart. The holiday camp (MDV53277) was located in the centre of one parcel, and the furrows at 5 metres apart and aligned north-west to south-east are visible in the central area between the rows of chalets on aerial photographs between the 1940s and 1960s.
A large area in the south near the sea has now been developed, but the earthworks appear to survive well in the northern part. The main substantial drains dividing the land parcels are depicted on historic and modern maps, and for clarity the dense network of individual drains has not been transcribed as part of this project. However the aerial photographic resource has good potential for illustrating and understanding the sequence of drainage.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV120092Report - non-specific: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1993. Archaeological Appraisal of the Salt Industry on Seaton Marshes, East Devon. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.93. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV120094Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D.. 1994. Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Axe Estuary Local Nature Reserve. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 94.72. A4 Grip Bound. 6.
SDV122290Article in Serial: Parkinson, M.. 1985. The Axe Estuary and its Marshes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 117. A5 Paperback. 35. [Mapped feature: #91450 ]
SDV351142Site Visit: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2013 - 2014. South Devon Coast RCZAS National Mapping Programme Project Site Visit. AC Archaeology. Digital. 09-MAY-2014.
Linked images:48
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV352504Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1412. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/106G/UK/1412 RP 4301-4302 13-APR-1946.
SDV355896Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1963. RAF/58/5607. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/58/5607 F21 342-343 22-JAN-1963.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 52-53.

Associated Monuments

MDV42602Related to: Willoughby Embankment at Seaton Marshes (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)

Date Last Edited:Apr 8 2020 11:29PM