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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1001649

Hob Uid: 1001649
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7717846990
Summary : The remains of a Second World War military training camp are visible on air photos. Field investigation revealed that the eastern half of the camp has been used as a dump obscuring some of the features. In the western half, the locations of four buildings are visible as rectangular areas where concrete bases and wall footings survive in places.
More information : The remains of a WW2 military camp are centred at SS 77174696.
The complex is clearly visible on RAF vertical air photographs (1), and a sketch transcription of the AP evidence has been made. The site consisted of a group of at least 9 buildings around an access road. The site was approached from the north by a track off the metalled lane between Tippacott and Slocombeslade. A single structure is visible close to the matalled road. Also visible on the air photograph is the base of another structure within the complex - the building presumably having been already removed.
On the south-west side of the main complex are three ancillary features, one of which is circular and two are "U" shaped.

Field investigation reveals that the ground evidence corresponds closely with the evidence on the air photograph. However, the eastern half of the main complex has been used as a dump, and six of the structures and one building base have now been obscured. Nevertheless, to the east of the camp, and close to the north-south field boundary, is a small banked area measuring 3.8m by 2.6m. Fragments of slight trenches perhaps associated with drainage and sanitation survive in this area and to the north.
The western side of the camp is less disturbed, and here both the tracks associated with the camp, and four surviving sites of buildings are visible. They are marked by disturbed rectangular areas, all of which have fairly consistent measurements. In places concrete bases and wall footings survive to reflect accurately the size of the structures. The single isolated structure to the north of the camp, and adjacent to the metalled road survives in a similar form.
To the south-west of the camp the three ancillary features noted on the air photograph are clearly visible. They consist of:
1. a circular feature now marked by an arc of concrete on its north-east side, and elsewhere by a disturbed and lumpy appearance to the ground. Sufficient of the concrete arc survives to suggest that it described a circle of some 7m diameter, but has now been largely robbed.
2. To its immediate south is a feature not visible on the air photograph. It is similar in form to the buildings described above.
3. South again is a "U" shaped bank of amorphous form which possibly contained a rectangular structure.
4. South of this is a second "U" shaped embanked feature, measuring 8.8m by 4.6m. The defining bank has a width of 2m and is 0.6m high. The interior of the feature has been hollowed to form a narrow trench some 0.5m deep.

The history of the camp has not been pursued here. However, it is clear that it was probably associated with the use of Brendon Common as a training area during World War 2.

AP sketch transcription, December 1993. (2-3)

The camp has been transcribed from aerial photographs in more detail as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme (NMP) project. Nine Nissen Hut type structures, measuring approximately 11 by 5 metres in size, are arrayed around the metalled trackway, one of which, at SS 77214700, appears to be surrounded by an external blast wall and may have been used to store munitions. Two further structures of similar dimensions but with gabled roofs are visible. The first is adjacent to the access road at SS 77234709 and may be a guardhouse. The function of the second at SS 77134697 is unclear. However, it appears to be a more compex structure and its position 7 metres down-slope from the circular structure at SS 77134698, interpreted here as a water tank, may support an interpretation as a specialised structure such as cookhouse or latrine. Between these semi-permanent structures and the U-shaped features described by the authority above are at least 45 roughly circular areas of surface disturbance at least three metres in diameter. These are interpreted as the former locations of Bell tents. The paths and trackways associated with this camp have not been transcribed during the NMP survey. This is because many such tracks were often based on existing routes and are not specifically military in nature, particularly approach roads to camps such as this. In addition, if the camp is associated with training activities using vehicles such as tanks, there can often be too many tracks caused by their passage to practically transcribe, as can be seen to the west of this camp at SS 770467. Elements of this camp remain visible on aerial photographs of 1995. (4-5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : RCHME/EH/HE Aerial Photographers comment
Source details : Wilson-North WR 8 DEC 93
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/853 3014 29-AUG-1952
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 3077-9 11-JUNL-1946
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/95026 092-3 21-MAR-1995
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Source : Brendon, WWII camp at SS 74 NE 19/ink AP transcription (sketch)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Military Camp, Military Training Site
Evidence : Ruined Building, Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NE 551
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 18129
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NE 19
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01