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The Harnham Water Meadows Framework Management Plan - Annexes

Annex V. Phased restoration of archaeological features

Suggested by Michael Cowan, amended by Hadrian Cook

A note on terminology:

There is no definitive work to provide accurate and consistent terms for the construction and operation of the irrigated meadows on the chalk valleys, including those managed by the Harnham Water Meadows Trust. Terms here generally follow Davies 1794/1811, used by Cowan 1982 and 2005.

There is no definitive work to provide accurate and consistent terms for the construction and operation of the irrigated meadows on the chalk valleys, including those managed by the Harnham Water Meadows Trust. Terms here generally follow Davies 1794/1811, used by Cowan 1982 and 2005.

To operate the irrigation system is to engage in drowning, hence ‘drowner’.

Drowning involves taking water from upstream and returning it ot the river downstream by means of control structures and a hierarchy of channels.

Drowning involves taking water from upstream and returning it ot the river downstream by means of control structures and a hierarchy of channels.

A main hatch upstream controls water into a main carriage. This delivers water to either one or more carriages (there are very few at Harnham) or directly to carriers along the tops of ridges.

A carrier, when full, spills water, along its length, down the sides of the ridges (or panes) into the intervening drains.

A number of drains are consolidated into a tail drain feeding back to a lower point on the river.

For any given level of the river, the Eastern Meadows are likely to be easier to drown and are considered first.

Eastern Meadows

1. Create pedestrian gate from Town Path to Hatch 8 in order to provide quicker and easier access to a route linking Hatches 8, 20, 13, 19, 12 and 29. This would be a good ‘archaeological trail’ to the easterm meadows generally.

2. In the long-term re-set/re-build stonework at the hatch pool (Hatch 18) and structure at Hatch 14 (the Town Path tail drain) because of damage by tree roots.

3. In the long-term re-set/re-build stonework at the hatch pool (Hatch 18) and structure at Hatch 14 (the Town Path tail drain) because of damage by tree roots.

4. Excavate spoil heaps at ‘Five Fingers’ on either side of Hatch 20 to establish what can be restored in order completely to drown Martin’s Mead.

5. Excavate spoil heap to establish existence (or otherwise) of Hatch 16

6. Restore Hatch 12 as a showpiece to demonstrate Best Practice in rebuilding

7. Establish contact with management of St Nicholas’ Mead and Four Acres (‘Prichett’s’ Mead) in order to:

Clear access pipe drains under the cartway

Clear undergrowth in order to discover how water is delivered to St Nicholas’ Mead

Clear undergrowth in order to discover how water is delivered to St Nicholas’ Mead

8. Explore with Natural England re-instatement of smaller control structures on Martin’s Mead in carriers from S8 and S20 and carrier across upper Seven Acres.

Western Meadows

9. Clean out drain arch at the base of the ‘three level’ structure and remove nearby pollard to establish the full width of the arch and improve visibility (and appreciation) of a show piece solution to an unusual requirement. This is to drain meadows (Neave’s Mead and Lower Great Mead) from the weir to a point below it; provide a main carriage from above the weir to drown downstream meadows, and to carry a footway over both.

9. Clean out drain arch at the base of the ‘three level’ structure and remove nearby pollard to establish the full width of the arch and improve visibility (and appreciation) of a show piece solution to an unusual requirement. This is to drain meadows (Neave’s Mead and Lower Great Mead) from the weir to a point below it; provide a main carriage from above the weir to drown downstream meadows, and to carry a footway over both.

11. Clear Hatches 26 and 27 sufficiently to demonstrate silting and deterioration. In any very long term plan for drowning, these meadows need to be restored to use.

12. Keep clear Hatches 21, 22 and 23 as above.

13. Create access to be able to cross Hatches 7 and 7a (Main inlet sluices across western meadows to eastern meadows) along the river bank.

14. Make footbridges on all riverside hatches from 9a to 25 safer including erection of handrails. Chicken wire covers for ‘bridges’ has been approved.

15. Excavate spoil heap above Hatches 10, 15 and 17 to establish nature of a fourth structure (Hatch 30) at this junction and crossover of two carriages.

16. Explore with Natural England re-instatement of smaller control structures on Great Mead, Sammel’s Acre, Ivy/Coopers Mead possibly meadows opposite Fisherton Mill House.

16. Explore with Natural England re-instatement of smaller control structures on Great Mead, Sammel’s Acre, Ivy/Coopers Mead possibly meadows opposite Fisherton Mill House.

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