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Historic England Research Records

Exmoor Firing Range

Hob Uid: 870601
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Oare
Grid Ref : SS8109544135
Summary : The extent of the Second World War Exmoor firing range has been identified from aerial photographs. By transcribing a representative sample of all impact craters visible on aerial photographs, the area has been recorded at approximately 22 square kilometres. The impact was also used for training infantry and motorised units and a number of foci for specialised activities have been noted.
More information : SS 829453. Exmoor firing ranges (impact area). The Exmoor Firing ranges were used during WWII for both infantry training and artillery practice (1). They extended over Brendon Common, Malsmead Hill, Hoccombe Hill, Badgworthy Hill, Lanacombe, Trout Hill and as far east as Toms Hill and Larkbarrow. In the area perambulated the surface remains consist of areas of disturbance and small hollows which indicate impact areas, notably on the summit ridge of Mill Hill (centred about SS 829453). In places shrapnel and rocket casings are visible. The latter consist of circular iron tubes some 0.6m in length and 0.12m to 0.13m in diameter. A circular cone projects from the rear end and was associated with the fuel exhaust. The nose cones are usually missing.

No survey action.

(For accounts of the remains in adjacent areas see SS 74 NE 46, SS 74 SE 110 and SS 84 SW 133)

A representative sample of all impact craters visible on aerial photographs of the immediate post-Second World War years has been transcribed. This has allowed the extent of the Exmoor firing range impact-area to be identified with some confidence.
The impact area can now be said to be approximately 2278 hectares or 22 square kilometres in area.
However, the activity within this area is not uniform and several foci of more intensive activity have been identified. Particularly dense concentrations of fire can be seen as craters on Brendon Common, Badgworthy Hill, Manor Allotment on South Common, and the area around Larkbarrow Farm and Toms Hill. Three small concrete squares have been identified within or close to some of these concentrations, such as at Stowey Allotment and at Outer Alscott, and these may be firing range markers or targets of some kind.
The firing range also saw heavy infantry and motorised training activities. These activities produced distinctive, if poorly understood earthworks and where possible these have been recorded separately. Good examples can be seen on Shilstone Hill, Malmsmead Hill and Porlock Common. It is possible that some of the shortlived remains in these areas include temporary field gun emplacements. (3-14)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : J Edwards, 12 Oakleigh, Pinnocks Moor, Tiverton, Devon (former Sergeant involved in administration of the ranges).
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Sainsbury, IS RCHME Field Investigation 9-Nov-1995
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Source Number : 11
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/1980 4072 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 12
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 (F20) 3001 08-NOV-1952
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Source Number : 13
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 (F20) 4056-7 08-NOV-1952
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Source Number : 14
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 (F20) 4064-5 08-NOV-1952
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Source Number : 3
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3082-4 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 4
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 4071-9 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 4080-4 11-JUL-1946
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Source Number : 6
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1501 3216-17 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 7
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 3324 136-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 3359 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4207-8 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 10
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 106GUK/1501 4202-4 (F20) 13-MAY-1946
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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 : Firing Range, Military Training Site
Evidence : Earthwork, Levelled Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 14003
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 14005
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Somerset)
External Cross Reference Number : 16674
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 84 SW 313
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 871490
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1002147
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1036092
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1473107
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1482535
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1482591
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1488022
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1488031
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1488039
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1488043
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478543
Relationship type :

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