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HER Number:MDV121001
Name:Horse Rocks Retaining Wall, Dawlish

Summary

Sea wall between the natural stone stacks of Horse Rocks. The date of its construction is unknown but a wall is depicted on the 1880s-1890s first edition Ordnance Survey map.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 961 757
Map Sheet:SX97NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDawlish
DistrictTeignbridge

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RETAINING WALL (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Wall shown at Horse Rocks


Historic England, 2018, Horse Rocks Retaining Wall & Shell Cove Breakwater (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360819.

Notification that Historic England have completed an initial report in order to assess whether the site has special architectural or historic interest.
History
The Plymouth, Devonport and Exeter Railway Company was formed in 1840 to establish a railway line between Exeter and Plymouth. In 1843 the name was changed to the South Devon Railway and Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed as engineer. In 1844 the South Devon Railway Act was passed, authorising the construction of a single-track, broad-gauge line.
The proposed route included a stretch along the coastline between Dawlish and Teignmouth, between the sea and sandstone cliffs, which required a series of tunnels to be cut through the protruding headland. The line had to negotiate several steep climbs and changes in gradient and Brunel’s plan to deal with this landscape was to adopt an experimental system of atmospheric propulsion. Known as the Atmospheric Railway, it was developed by Samuel Clegg and Jacob and Joseph Samuda on the Dalkey Railway in Ireland in 1844. It used a combination of partial vacuum and atmospheric pressure. Instead of a traditional locomotive engine, stationary engines were placed in pumping stations along the line, extracting air from vacuum pipes laid in the middle of the track. Brunel first used the system in 1844 on a five-mile stretch of the London to Croydon Railway. Despite criticism of the system from
various contemporary engineers he also recommended it for the South Devon Railway. The first section of the line opened in May 1846; however, the atmospheric vacuum pipes had not been completed, and initially, a steam locomotive was used. The first atmospheric train ran in 1847; although only between Exeter and Teignmouth. Ultimately the railway suffered from defects, including the deterioration of the leather seals on the vacuum pipes. In 1848 the atmospheric system was abandoned and the line was converted to conventional steam locomotion.
In 1876 South Devon amalgamated with the Great Western Railway, and in 1884 the section of track between Teignmouth Old Quay and Smugglers Lane was doubled. In 1892 the line was converted from broad to standard gauge. Between 1902 and 1905 the section between Smugglers Lane and Dawlish Railway Station was also made into a double line.
Shell Cove Lies next to Phillot Tunnel and has two sea defence structures: the Shell Cove
Breakwater and Horse Rocks Retaining Wall. The latter was built at an unknown date between two natural features, stone stacks, known as Horse Rocks. A wall is shown on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1889. The wall provides the north end of Shell Cove with protection from the sea and has been subject to a series of repairs in the C20, including some using rough concrete screed.
Shell Cove Breakwater is probably of 1840s date but was extended later in two phases. It was
originally 37m in length but appears to have was extended to 60m by the Ordnance Survey of Details
A sea wall of unknown date spanning the natural stone stacks of Horse Rocks.
MATERIALS: constructed of dressed coursed granite with rough concrete screed repairs.
DESCRIPTION: The sea wall has a maximum height of 4.9m and is on average 1.5m thick. It is 27.5m in length and is in a bowed formation.


Historic England, 2018, Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361198.

Notification that following a recommendation from Historic England, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has decided not to list Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater but is minded to issue a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI).
The Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater are both architecturally plain structures built of rubble stone and granite on a relatively modest scale with repairs and reinforcement in other materials including concrete screed. They are not among the most impressive historic sea structures to survive nationally and only part of the Shell Cove Breakwater (and none of the retaining wall) is known to date from the pre-1850 phase of the railway. The retaining wall may well have been substantially rebuilt in the later C20. After having given careful consideration to the surviving structure of the pre-1850 breakwater, we note that it has been extended twice since its first construction and its plan has therefore been considerably altered. Therefore, neither structure has strong claims to architectural special interest.
The Horse Rocks Retaining Wall appears to be a later structure than Brunel’s 1846 Atmospheric Railway in its current position, and with the date of construction unclear due to the successive repair and rebuilding work it does not have any clear claims to historic interest. Listed examples of sea walls and other sea defences are mostly of early-C19 date or even earlier and often have strong group value with other listed structures. Regional examples include the sea walls at Exmouth, Devon (1841-2, Grade II) and St Mawes, Cornwall (1859, Grade II). While the original section of Shell Cove Breakwater dates to the Brunel period, it was a minor structure on a line that has been largely replaced in the subsequent works of 1902-5 and, in conjunction with its substantial later extension over two phases and some major repair work, it is not a good representative example of a pioneering railway structure. Therefore, with little architectural or historic interest and no group value with other listed buildings, the structures fall short of the criteria and cannot be recommended for listing.
CONCLUSION
After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. A COI should therefore be issued.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
The Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater are not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest
* the structures are of little design interest and have had substantial later alterations.
Historic interest
* while the Shell Cove Breakwater has some historic interest as a mid-C19 structure built in relation to the construction of Brunel’s railway, its later extension and alteration have rendered it a relatively poor representative example of a pioneering railway structure;
* the Horse Rocks Sea Wall has no known claims to historic interest.
Group value
* they do not form a group with any listed structures.
See report for further details.


Historic England, 2018, Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361225.

Confirmation that Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater have been issued with a Certificate of Immunity from listing for five years.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Wall shown.


Historic England, 2018, Parsons Tunnel to Kennaway Tunnel (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360677.

Notification of application for a Certificate of Immunity for structures and features on the railway line from Parsons Tunnel to Kennaway Tunnel, including sea walls, breakwaters and tunnel portals.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #80249 ]
SDV360677List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Parsons Tunnel to Kennaway Tunnel. Notification of Application for a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV360819List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Horse Rocks Retaining Wall & Shell Cove Breakwater. Notification of Completion of Assessment. Digital.
SDV361198List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater. Notification of Intention to Grant a Certificate of Immunity. Digital.
SDV361225List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Horse Rocks Retaining Wall and Shell Cove Breakwater. Notification of Certificate of Immunity. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:May 4 2018 9:51AM