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HER Number:MDV102986
Name:Trench, possibly for military communications infrastructure, across Braunton Burrows.


A narrow linear ditch is visible on aerial photographs dating to 1946 as an interrupted earthwork. It is likely to be associated with the Second World War U.S. Army’s Assault Training Centre, perhaps for cabling, although its exact function is not known. It is not visible on later aerial photographs, and may have been infilled by shifting sands after the war.


Grid Reference:SS 451 358
Map Sheet:SS43NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBraunton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRAUNTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and structural remains of World War II military training features for D-Day Landings on Braunton Burrows

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DITCH (World War II - 1943 AD to 1945 AD)

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1501, NMR RAF/106G/UK/1501 3003-3004 13-MAY-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349927.

An earthwork trench is visible.

Gaimster, M., 2010, Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2009: Devon (Article in Serial). SDV354871.

Survey of the burrows undertaken as part of the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Earlier defensive features include anti-tank obstacles and an Royal Air Force decoy airfield. The remains of a lighthouse were also recorded (citing Leverett, M. + Passmore, A. J., Exeter Archaeology Reports 09.17 and 09.113).

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

A narrow linear trench, approximately 0.5 metres in width, is visible as an interrupted earthwork on aerial photographs taken in 1946. It is aligned north to south parallel to the shoreline and then turns east and inland for circa 1.5 kilometers towards Moor Lane. It is not visible on earlier aerial photographs, but in some places windblown sand cover has obscured the trench, and in one case a possible barbed wire obstruction seems to cross it. The linear feature therefore appears to be well established and is well defined; it is possible that the trench is a post war intervention to remove a buried cable, perhaps for communications in the Second World War U.S. Army’s Assault Training Centre. The trench seems to terminate at a group of buildings near the western end of Moor Lane (MDV102698), which may have had an associated function. The linear feature is not visible on later available aerial photographs, and has probably been infilled by sand since the end of the war.

Sources / Further Reading

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
SDV349927Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1501. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/1501 3003-3004 13-MAY-1946. [Mapped feature: #62487 ]
SDV354871Article in Serial: Gaimster, M.. 2010. Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2009: Devon. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 44. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV57283Part of: Braunton Areas A, B, C and D of US Assault Training Centre (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

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

Date Last Edited:Jul 5 2018 12:13PM