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HER Number:MDV119869
Name:Wadbrook Defence Area on the Taunton Stop Line


The defence area around Wadbrook formed part of the Second World War Taunton Stop Line constructed in 1940. The River Axe formed the main anti-tank obstacle together with road and rail blocks and two lines of pillboxes. See associated monuments for details of individual sites, buildings and features.


Grid Reference:ST 325 016
Map Sheet:ST30SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAll Saints
Civil ParishAxminster
Civil ParishChardstock
Civil ParishHawkchurch
DistrictEast Devon
DistrictWest Dorset
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMINSTER
Ecclesiastical ParishHAWKCHURCH
Ecclesiastical ParishCHARDSTOCK

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DEFENDED LOCALITY (Constructed, World War II - 1940 AD to 1940 AD)

Full description

Foot, W., 2005, Defence Areas. A National Study of Second World War Anti-Invasion Landscapes in England, DA04 (Report - Survey). SDV360266.

The Wadbrook Defence Area formed part of the Taunton Stop Line. It lies broadly north and south of Wadbrook with the Blackwater River to the north, the River Axe and the railway to the west and the hills to the east of the river valley. The River Axe formed the main anti-tank obstacle; its banks were cut back to make them steeper and anti-tank ditches were added across the bases of its outward (west) facing loops. Road and railblocks were also set up at river crossings and further roadblocks were established in the lanes to the east of the river. Lighter infantry pillboxes were established close to the river with heavy machine gun emplacements on the hills. A Royal Engineer's map made in 1940 shows the defence works constructed in the area, many of which still survive.
The surviving defences of the Wadbrook Defence Area which include pillboxes and a road block are considered to be of national importance. The area provides a good example of the riverside anti-tank defences of the Taunton Stop Line and also demonstrates well defence in depth with the two lines of gun emplacements. It is recommended that consideration be given to the establishment of a pillbox walk through the area.

See report for more information and associated monuments for details of individual defences.

Passmore, A. + Passmore, M., 2010, Second World War Pillboxes, 3 (Leaflet). SDV345308.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV345308Leaflet: Passmore, A. + Passmore, M.. 2010. Second World War Pillboxes. A Brief Introduction to Twentieth Century Military and Civil Defence Archae. 13. A4 Folded. 3.
SDV360266Report - Survey: Foot, W.. 2005. Defence Areas. A National Study of Second World War Anti-Invasion Landscapes in England. Council for British Archaeology/English Heritage. Digital. DA04. [Mapped feature: #79155 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV120244Parent of: Anti Tank Cubes circa 260 metres south of Axe Bridge, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48669Parent of: Anti-Tank ditch circa circa 240 metres south of Axe Bridge, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48676Parent of: Anti-Tank Ditch near Broome Cottage, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48668Parent of: Anti-Tank Ditch to west of Wadbrook Coppice, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV120243Parent of: Anti-Tank Gun Position and Roadblock circa 375 metres south of Wadbrook Cross (Monument)
MDV120023Parent of: Anti-tank Gun Position, Fortfield, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48671Parent of: Anti-Tank Obstacle circa 90 metres south of Axe Bridge, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV63104Parent of: Axe Bridge, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV120027Parent of: Axe Gates Level Crossing, Chardstock (Monument)
MDV52937Parent of: Pillbox S.16 to north-east of Broome Cottage, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48679Parent of: Pillbox S.17 circa 246 metres north-east of Wadbrook Cross, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV52938Parent of: Pillbox S.18 circa 223 metres north-west of Wadbrook Cross, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV52940Parent of: Pillbox S.19 at Wadbrook Farm, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48672Parent of: Pillbox S.21 circa 150 metres south-west of Wadbrook Cross, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48670Parent of: Pillbox S.23 circa 285 metres south of Axe Bridge, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48677Parent of: Pillbox S.V.1 to north-west of Fortfield, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48678Parent of: Pillbox S.V.2 to south-west of Fortfield, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48673Parent of: Pillbox S.V.3 circa 326 metres metres south-east of Wadbrook Cross, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48674Parent of: Pillbox S.V.4 circa 362 metres south-east of Wadbrook Cross, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48667Parent of: Pillbox west of Wadbrook Coppice, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV119767Parent of: Possible Anti-tank Obstacle north and south of Axe Bridge, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV52939Parent of: Railblock S.RL. 26 to north-west of Wadbrook Farm, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV48680Parent of: Roadblock S.RD. 51 at Axe Bridge to the south-west of Wadbrook (Monument)
MDV120025Parent of: Roadblock to south of Fortfield, Hawkchurch (Monument)
MDV120024Parent of: Roadbock at Damas Lawn Bridge, Thorncombe (Monument)
MDV119535Part of: Taunton Stop Line (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4919 - Site Visit to Pillboxes and Anti-Tank Obstacles Near Axminster

Date Last Edited:Feb 7 2019 7:49AM