Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation has other uses in crop production, including frost protection, suppressing weed growth in grain fields and preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming. Irrigation systems are used for cooling livestock, dust suppression, disposal of sewage, in mining. Irrigation is studied together with drainage, the removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area. Irrigation has been a central feature of agriculture for over 5,000 years and is the product of many cultures, it was the basis for economies and societies across the globe, from Asia to the Southwestern United States. Archaeological investigation has found evidence of irrigation in areas lacking sufficient natural rainfall to support crops for rainfed agriculture.
The earliest known use of the technology dates to the 6th millennium BCE in Khuzistan in the south-west of present-day Iran. Irrigation was used as a means of manipulation of water in the alluvial plains of the Indus valley civilization, the application of it is estimated to have begun around 4500 BC and drastically increased the size and prosperity of their agricultural settlements; the Indus Valley Civilization developed sophisticated irrigation and water-storage systems, including artificial reservoirs at Girnar dated to 3000 BCE, an early canal irrigation system from c. 2600 BCE. Large-scale agriculture was practiced, with an extensive network of canals used for the purpose of irrigation. Farmers in the Mesopotamian plain used irrigation from at least the third millennium BCE, they developed perennial irrigation watering crops throughout the growing season by coaxing water through a matrix of small channels formed in the field. Ancient Egyptians practiced basin irrigation using the flooding of the Nile to inundate land plots, surrounded by dykes.
The flood water remained until the fertile sediment had settled before the engineers returned the surplus to the watercourse. There is evidence of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhet III in the twelfth dynasty using the natural lake of the Faiyum Oasis as a reservoir to store surpluses of water for use during dry seasons; the lake swelled annually from the flooding of the Nile. The Ancient Nubians developed a form of irrigation by using a waterwheel-like device called a sakia. Irrigation began in Nubia some time between the third and second millennia BCE, it depended upon the flood waters that would flow through the Nile River and other rivers in what is now the Sudan. In sub-Saharan Africa irrigation reached the Niger River region cultures and civilizations by the first or second millennium BCE and was based on wet-season flooding and water harvesting. Evidence of terrace irrigation occurs in pre-Columbian America, early Syria and China. In the Zana Valley of the Andes Mountains in Peru, archaeologists have found remains of three irrigation canals radiocarbon-dated from the 4th millennium BCE, the 3rd millennium BCE and the 9th century CE.
These canals provide the earliest record of irrigation in the New World. Traces of a canal dating from the 5th millennium BCE were found under the 4th-millennium canal. Ancient Persia used irrigation as far back as the 6th millennium BCE to grow barley in areas with insufficient natural rainfall; the Qanats, developed in ancient Persia about 800 BCE, are among the oldest known irrigation methods still in use today. They are now found in the Middle East and North Africa; the system comprises a network of vertical wells and sloping tunnels driven into the sides of cliffs and of steep hills to tap groundwater. The noria, a water wheel with clay pots around the rim powered by the flow of the stream, first came into use at about this time among Roman settlers in North Africa. By 150 BCE the pots were fitted with valves to allow smoother filling as they were forced into the water; the irrigation works of ancient Sri Lanka, the earliest dating from about 300 BCE in the reign of King Pandukabhaya, under continuous development for the next thousand years, were one of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world.
In addition to underground canals, the Sinhalese were the first to build artificial reservoirs to store water. These reservoirs and canal systems were used to irrigate paddy fields, which require a lot of water to cultivate. Most of these irrigation systems still exist undamaged up to now, in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, because of the advanced and precise engineering; the system was further extended during the reign of King Parakrama Bahu. The oldest known hydraulic engineers of China were Sunshu Ao of the Spring and Autumn period and Ximen Bao of the Warring States period, both of whom worked on large irrigation projects. In the Sichuan region belonging to the state of Qin of ancient China, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System devised by the Qin Chinese hydrologist and irrigation engineer Li Bing was built in 256 BCE to irrigate a vast area of farmland that today still supplies water. By the 2nd century AD, during the Han Dynasty, the Chinese used chain pumps which lifted water from a lower elevation to a higher one.
These were powered by manual foot-pedal, hydraulic waterwheels, or rotating mechanical wheels pulled by oxen. The water was used for public works, providing water for urban residential quarters and palace gardens, bu
Quern-stones are stone tools for hand-grinding a wide variety of materials. They are used in pairs; the lower, stone is called a quern, while the upper mobile stone is called a handstone. The central hole is called a handle slot enables the handstone to be rotated, they were first used in the Neolithic era to grind cereals into flour. An old Gaelic proverb is "The quern performs best when the grindstone has been pitted." The upper stones were concave whilst the lower was convex and sometimes a rind was present as a piece of wood etc that allowed the cereal etc to be added but still acted as a centering device. The upper stone sometimes had a cup shaped area around the hopper hole with a raised edge. Most handstones have a handle hole on the upper surface, however one class of quern-stones have a slot handle which indicates that a piece of wood was placed horizontally and protruded out from the edge so that the operator could turn the stone by standing and using a rod vertically. One class of upper quern-stones has from two to three sockets for the rod used to turn them and this is thought to reflect the need to reduce wear and tear by having alternative points of contact when in active use.
Quern-stones have been used by numerous civilizations throughout the world to grind materials, the most important of, grain to make flour for bread-making. They were replaced by millstones once mechanised forms of milling appeared the water mill and the windmill, although animals were used to operate the millstones. However, in many non-Westernised, non-mechanised cultures they are still manufactured and used and have only been replaced in many parts of the world in the last century or so. In early Maya civilizations the process of nixtamalization was distinctive in that hard, ripe kernels of maize were boiled in water and lime, thus producing nixtamal, made into unleavened dough for flat cakes by grinding with a handstone on a quern. Quern stones were used in China at least 10,000 years ago to grind wheat into flour; the production of flour by rubbing wheat by hand took several hours. Due to their form and the nature of the treatment of the surfaces, they reproduce the most ancient implements used for grinding cereal grain into flour.
Saddle querns were known in China during the Neolithic Age but rotary stone mills did not appear until the Warring States Period. A prehistoric quern dating back to 23,000 BCE was found at the Longwangchan archaeological site, in Hukou, Shaanxi in 2007; the site is located in the heartland of the northern Chinese loess plateau near the Yellow River. As well as grain, ethnographic evidence and Mesopotamian texts show that a wide range of foodstuffs and inorganic materials were processed using stone querns or mortars, including nuts, fruit, herbs, meat, pigments and clay. Moreover, one study analysing quern-stones noted that a number of querns had traces of arsenic and bismuth, unlike their source rocks, had levels of antimony which were ten times higher than those of the rocks; the authors concluded that this was due to the use of these querns in the preparation of medicines, dyes or in the manufacture of alloys. Querns were used in grinding metals ores after mining extraction; the aim was to liberate fine ore particles which could be separated by washing for example, prior to smelting.
They were thus used in gold mining in antiquity. In the Shetlands tobacco was not smoked when first introduced, but instead was ground up into snuff, inhaled up the nose. Snuff-querns consisted of an lower stone, fixed together by a central iron pivot; the quern was held on the user's lap, the eye of the quern was filled with dried tobacco leaves, the upper-stone was turned using the handle. The friction caused by the turning ground the leaves into a fine powder that built up around the edge of the lower-stone. Many snuff-querns had a small hole or cut made near the edge of the upper-stone, into which a pointed end of a lamb's horn was placed in order to turn the stone. There are, more surprising recorded uses of quern-stones. For example, DeBoer, in his review of the traditional gambling games of North American tribes, reports that one of the games involved bouncing a group of split canes off a quern. Violence is recorded in the Book of Judges: “But a certain woman threw an upper-millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushed his skull.”
The best type of stone from which to manufacture quern-stones are igneous rocks such as basalt. These have rough surfaces, but grains do not detach so the material being ground does not become gritty. However, such rocks are not always available, meaning that quern-stones have been manufactured from a wide variety of rocks, including sandstone and limestone. Quernmore Crag near Lancaster in England is named after the quarrying of millstone grit used to make quern stones in these parts. Rutter was able to show, for the southern Levant, that basalt quern-stones were preferred to those manufactured from other rock types. Basalt quern-stones were therefore transported over long-distances, leading him to argue that, despite their every-day, utilitarian function, they were used as a status symbol. Research in Scotland has indicated. Knocking stones were used in the preparation of small quantities of cereal however the earliest forms of quern were the saddle and trough querns; the earliest quern so far was found at Abu Hureyra, Syria.
A development was the rotary quern, which takes several forms. The saddle quern is produced by rocking or rolling
The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development, although this term may not be used, until European contact; the Neolithic comprises a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals. The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νέος néos, "new" and λίθος líthos, "stone" meaning "New Stone Age"; the term was coined by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system. Following the ASPRO chronology, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the Levant, arising from the Natufian culture, when pioneering use of wild cereals evolved into early farming.
The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat and spelt, the keeping of dogs and goats. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, the use of pottery. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery.
In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery before developing agriculture. In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are attested in southeastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC; the prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square yards, the collection of neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases.
The Neolithic 1 period began around 10,000 BC in the Levant. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period; this site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres, contain limestone pillars carved with animals and birds. Stone tools were used by as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in Jericho, West Bank, Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, Byblos, Lebanon; the start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Heavy Neolithic periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, early seed selection and re-seeding occurred; the grain was ground into flour. Emmer wheat was domesticated, animals were herded and domesticated.
In 2006, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings; this evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of mudbrick; the settlement had a surrounding stone wall and a stone tower. The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned; some of the enclosures suggest grain and meat storage. The Neolithic 2 began around 8800 BC according to the ASPRO chronology in the Levant; as with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast Anatolia and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin.
A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in th
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
Honiton is a market town and civil parish in East Devon, situated close to the River Otter, 17 miles north east of Exeter in the county of Devon. Honiton has a population estimated at 11,822; the town grew along the line of the Fosse Way, the ancient Roman road linking Exeter to Lincoln on which it was an important stopping point. The location is farmstead. Honiton grew to become an important market town, known for lace making, introduced by Flemish immigrants in the Elizabethan era. In the 17th century thousands of people produced lace by hand in their homes, in the 19th century Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace, though the dress itself was made in the fishing village of Beer; the town became known for its pottery. In 1747 and 1765 the town were badly damaged by fires. Georgian houses were built to replace some of those, destroyed; the buildings of High Street are all Georgian, dating from after the two fires of 1747 and 1765. Of particular interest are Marwood House, 1619, the Manor House, a coaching inn.
Honiton Garage dates from about 1700 and the Market Hall has a modest early-19th-century stone front. St Michael's Parish Church, rebuilt in 1911 after a fire, is situated on a small hill above the town; the old church was large and rectangular: it was built in the Perpendicular style, with two aisles, two transepts, the chancel and two chancel chapels equal to it in length. The west tower and the outer walls are all; the cost of the original building was paid by Bishop Courtenay of Exeter, lord of the manor of Honiton and by John and Joan Takell. The mid-19th-century St Paul's Church was designed by Charles Fowler and is situated in the centre of the town, its erection in 1835 required an act of Parliament and the demolition of half of the adjacent Allhallows Chapel. It was built in 1837–38 in a style incorporating elements of Romanesque architecture. There are pinnacles on the tower and the arcades inside have tall columns. Allhallows Museum of Lace and Local Antiquities claims to hold one of the most comprehensive collections of Honiton lace in the world.
It is located in a building, claimed to be the oldest still extant in Honiton, which belonged to Allhallows School from the 16th Century until the 1930s. The Hot Pennies ceremony takes place annually on the first Tuesday after 19 July in the High Street of the town, dates back to the reign of King Stephen; the ceremony has its roots in the practice of landed gentry taking pleasure in throwing hot pennies from windows to local peasants, a philanthropic gesture resulting in burns. The custom had the purpose of encouraging people to travel to the town from the surrounding area to attend a subsequent fair. At noon, the Town Crier, accompanied by the Mayor and other local dignitaries, raises a garlanded pole with gloved hand at the top, proclaims that "no man may be arrested so long as this glove is up". Warm pennies are thrown from a number of balconies in the High Street to crowds of local people; the pole is kept on display for the following "fair week". The children of Honiton Community College are allowed off campus for the duration of the Hot Pennies Ceremony itself.
Honiton is host to the annual Honiton Agricultural Show, an event traditionally held on the first Thursday of August in fields near the town, dating back to 1890. Honiton has two primary schools, Honiton Primary School and Littletown Primary School, as well as a secondary school, Honiton Community College, which includes a sixth form. Honiton is at the junction of the A30 and the A373 roads; the A30 now bypasses the town to the north. Until the bypass's construction in 1966, the town was blighted by traffic congestion. Though, according to many residents, it still is; the town is 10.5 miles from Junction 28 of the M5. Honiton railway station is on the West of England Main Line and is served by South Western Railway services to London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids. Honiton is around 13 miles from Exeter Airport. Honiton is twinned with Mézidon-Canon in France, Gronau in Germany. Rose Dugdale Samuel Graves: Admiral of the British Navy Ozias Humphry: Artist Alfred Leyman: Artist Jo Pavey: Athlete William Salter: Artist Media related to Honiton at Wikimedia Commons Honiton Town Council Honiton at Curlie
A basket is a container, traditionally constructed from stiff fibers, can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, baleen, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are woven by hand; some baskets are fitted with a lid. Baskets serve utilitarian as well as aesthetic purposes; some baskets are ceremonial, religious, in nature. While baskets are used for harvesting and transport, specialized baskets are used as sieves for a variety of purposes, including cooking, processing seeds or grains, tossing gambling pieces, fans, fish traps, laundry. Prior to the invention of woven baskets, people used tree bark to make simple containers; these containers could be used to transport gathered food and other items, but crumbled after only a few uses. Weaving strips of bark or other plant material to support the bark containers would be the next step, followed by woven baskets; the last innovation appears to be baskets so woven that they could hold water.
Depending on soil conditions, baskets may not be preserved in the archaeological record. Sites in the Middle East show that weaving techniques were used to make mats and also baskets, circa 8000 BCE. Twined baskets date back to 7000 in Oasisamerica. Baskets made with interwoven techniques were common at 3000 BCE. Baskets were designed as multi-purpose vessels to carry and store materials and to keep stray items about the home; the plant life available in a region affects the choice of material, which in turn influences the weaving technique. Rattan and other members of the Arecaceae or palm tree family, the thin grasses of temperate regions, broad-leaved tropical bromeliads each require a different method of twisting and braiding to be made into a basket; the practice of basket making has evolved into an art. Artistic freedom allows basket makers a wide choice of colors, sizes and details; the carrying of a basket on the head by rural women, has long been practised. Representations of this in Ancient Greek art are called Canephorae.
The phrase "to hell in a handbasket" means to deteriorate. The origin of this use is unclear. "Basket" is sometimes used as an adjective towards a person, born out of wedlock. This occurs more in British English. "Basket" refers to a bulge in a man's crotch. Basket makers use a wide range of materials: Wicker Straw Plastic Metal Bamboo Palm Carbon fiber Zepeda, Ofelia. Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. ISBN 0-8165-1541-7. "Basket". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3. 1911. Baskets, The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
River Otter, Devon
The River Otter rises in the Blackdown Hills just inside the county of Somerset, England near Otterford flows south for some 32 km through East Devon to the English Channel at the western end of Lyme Bay, part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Permian and Triassic sandstone aquifer in the Otter Valley is one of Devon's largest groundwater sources, supplying drinking water to 200,000 people; the river's source is north of Otterford, where a stream feeds the Otterhead Lakes: ST225152 and through Churchstanton before entering Devon. The river flows through a predominantly rural area, with small cattle and dairy farms; the largest town in the Otter Valley is Honiton. Tourism and leisure play important roles in the economy. For much of its length, the river flows through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – The Blackdown Hills AONB and East Devon AONB; the river passes through or by Upottery, Monkton, Alfington, Ottery St Mary, Tipton St John, Newton Poppleford and Otterton before reaching the Otter Estuary to the east of Budleigh Salterton.
The Otter Estuary Nature Reserve is a 57-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest consisting of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh. There is no public access to the estuary itself but footpaths lead alongside with two viewing platforms on the west and two hides one on the west and one on the east; the wintering population of wildfowl and waders includes redshank, dunlin, common sandpiper, ringed plover, grey plover, snipe, water rail, teal, brent goose, red-breasted merganser and little grebe. Reed warbler, reed bunting and sedge warbler breed on the reserve; the Environment Agency measures the water level of the Otter and its tributaries at six or more "river level stations". The point at which the river reaches the coast is part of a World Heritage Site. A small tributary is the River Tale, with the confluence NW of Ottery St Mary; this small town is the site of an unusual circular weir, known as the Tumbling Weir. Another small tributary is Budleigh Brook. At one time there were as many as fifty watermills powered by the River Otter.
One of the remaining working mills, thought to date from the 17th century, is Tracey Mill near Honiton. In the 1970s, fish ponds were dug around the mill, fed by the leat. One mill, at Dotton, is known to have operated from around 1100 to 1960, after which the building was demolished; the site was excavated by Channel 4's archaeological television programme Time Team, the episode "The Domesday Mill" being broadcast in 2007. This mill is mentioned in the Domesday Book. A weir diverted water to the mill's leat. Dotton is 4.5 miles from the mouth of the Otter, about one mile north of the village of Colaton Raleigh. At the village of Otterton, Otterton Mill is a working watermill over 1,000 years old, it is powered by water diverted through a leat. North of the leat, a fish pass has been constructed beside a river-wide weir, restoring migratory fish runs to the river after a break of over 100 years; the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born in Ottery St Mary, wrote a sonnet entitled "Sonnet to the River Otter".
At Ottery St Mary the river is spanned by a 95-metre cycle bridge named Coleridge Bridge. A small area of land at one end of the bridge was sold to the local authorities by Lord Coleridge, a descendant of the poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge; the Otter is the only river in England known to contain a breeding population of beavers, a species that died out in Britain in around 1550. The origin of the population is not known. Following concern from local landowners and anglers, as well as farmers worrying that the beavers could carry disease, the government announced that it would capture the beavers and place them in a zoo or wildlife park. A sport fishing industry lobbyist group, the Angling Trust, said "it would be irresponsible to consider re-introducing this species into the wild without first restoring our rivers to good health."This decision to remove the beavers was protested by local residents and campaign groups, with environmental journalist George Monbiot describing the government and Angling Trust as "control freaks": "I'm an angler, the Angling Trust does not represent me on this issue...most anglers, in my experience, have a powerful connection with nature.
The chance of seeing remarkable wild animals while waiting on the riverbank is a major part of why we do it."The introduction of beavers to rivers has been encouraged by environmentalists, who have argued that beaver dams provide a habitat for birds and fish, reduce the strength of flooding by trapping water high up in a catchment area, away from homes further downstream, could be a future tourist attraction. A local councillor, Claire Wright, was quoted as commenting, "The decision to let them stay should be made by the community, not by officials from London. There is a lot of support locally for them remaining on the river and general bafflement about why Defra