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HER Number:MDV102580
Name:Military maintenance site on Instow Sands

Summary

A substantial complex of military structures and equipment is visible on aerial photographs dating to the 1940s. They are interpreted as part of a maintenance base for the Woolacombe Training Area, where landing craft were repaired and left to dry on the sands. Several groups of landing craft along the foreshore are likely to be associated with this complex. The structures had started to be removed by 1953 and none were visible on aerial photographs taken in 1970. However remains are very likely to survive below the surface.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 472 303
Map Sheet:SS43SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishInstow
Civil ParishWestleigh
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishINSTOW

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SHIP REPAIR WORKS (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/102, NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5001-5002 17-JAN-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349060.

A complex of structures, rows of equipment, beached vessels, vehicles and tracks are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/UK/891, NMR RAF/106G/UK/891 3079-3080 08-OCT-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349055.

A possible barbed wire fence is visible on the south-west side of the beach, aligned approximately north to west, parallel to the shoreline.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1420, NMR RAF/106G/91420 3236-3237 15-APR-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349553.

A complex of structures, rows of equipment, beached vessels, vehicles and tracks are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1953, NMR RAF/540/1141 (F21), NMR RAF/540/1141 F21 0002 06-JUN-1953 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349622.

Many of the structures are no longer visible.


Royal Air Force, 1964, RAF 543/2821 F61, NMR RAF/543/2821 F61 0218-0219 27-APR-1964 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349849.

Most of the complex is gone, although some bases are visible.


Meridian Airmaps Limited, 1970, MAL/70076, NMR MAL/70076 178-179 25-SEP-1970 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349892.

No remains are visible.


Bass, R. T., 2005, Spirits of the Sand: Field Edition, 105 (Monograph). SDV325697.

The concrete base of a Nissen hut was identified during excavations in the sand. No date given for excavations.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011 - 2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

A substantial complex of military structures and equipment is visible on aerial photographs dating to the 1940s. The buildings include Nissen-type huts covering an area of less than a hectare immediately to the south of the North Devon Cricket Ground, with a larger area of equipment storage to the south. Richard Bass notes that landing craft used during training in the latter part of the Second World War were beached and left to dry on Instow Sands, and that there was a camp for maintenance and repair works on the east side of the beach. This may be the military complex on the other side of the road, but the rows of huts visible on the upper part of the beach may also be associated. Further to the south are several rectangular or square features that look like bases or hardstanding, a possible walled compound and an oval ditch of unknown function. Three landing craft visible on the beach to the south at SS4708530670, SS4709130342 and SS4708530369, and a group of numerous larger landing craft lined up on the sands to the south at SS4718229876 are likely to be associated with this complex. The structures had started to be removed by 1953 and very little evidence for the complex was visible on aerial photographs dating to 1964; by 1970 even the few hut bases visible in the 60s appear to have been buried or removed. However remains (and ordnance) may survive below the surface; Bass records a Nissen hut base discovered buried in the sand.


Richard Bass, 2012, Assault Training Centre, http://www.assaulttrainingcenter.com/TRAINING-AREAS.html (Website). SDV349915.

The US Navy took over the entire foreshore at Instow to beach and dry out their landing craft after use in the ATC's amphibious exercises. There was a small camp at the eastern end of the beach that was used for repair and maintenance and a slipway for their DUKWs.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325697Monograph: Bass, R. T.. 2005. Spirits of the Sand: Field Edition. Spirits of the Sand. A5 Paperback. 105.
SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011 - 2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349055Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/UK/891. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/891 3079-3080 08-OCT-1945.
SDV349060Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/102. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5001-5002 17-JAN-1945.
SDV349553Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1420. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/91420 3236-3237 15-APR-1946. [Mapped features: #1466 ; #1467 ; #1468 ; #1469 ; #1470 ; #1471 ; #1472 ; #1473 ; #1474 ; #1475 ; #62045 ]
SDV349622Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1953. NMR RAF/540/1141 (F21). Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/540/1141 F21 0002 06-JUN-1953.
SDV349849Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. RAF 543/2821 F61. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/543/2821 F61 0218-0219 27-APR-1964.
SDV349892Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1970. MAL/70076. Meridian Airmaps Limited Aerial Photograph. NMR MAL/70076 178-179 25-SEP-1970.
SDV349915Website: Richard Bass. 2012. Assault Training Centre. http://www.assaulttrainingcenter.com/TRAINING-AREAS.html. Website. http://www.assaulttrainingcenter.com/TRAINING-AREAS.html.

Associated Monuments

MDV73990Parent of: North Devon US Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV50888Related to: Possible military maintenance site for Second World War training at Instow (Monument)
MDV102593Related to: Second World War water tank at North Devon Cricket Club (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project

Date Last Edited:Aug 14 2012 3:20PM