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HER Number:MDV134047
Name:Sleeping bunker at Stoneleigh Accommodation Camp, Branscombe


Former Second World War sleeping bunker. A rectangular building constructed in mass-concrete with an entrance porch forming an extension off the south-west corner. The door has has stencilled lettering on it which reads ‘Sleeping shelter for 12’.


Grid Reference:SY 162 891
Map Sheet:SY18NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBranscombe
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRANSCOMBE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ACCOMMODATION HUT (Built, World War II - 1941 AD (Between) to 1942 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Building just visible in the north-west corner of the site.

Ordnance Survey, 2023, Mastermap 2023 (Cartographic). SDV365227.

Rectangular building parallel to Slade Lane.

Historic England, 2023, WW2 bunker next to 31 Stoneleigh Holiday Park, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV365425.

Notification that Historic England has been asked to assess a former Second World War sleeping bunker at Stoneleigh for listing. The application was prompted by a planning application which includes the demolition of the shelter. Having considered the application and completed an assessment of the building, it has been decided not to add the bunker to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest at this time.
The accommodation camp at Stoneleigh was built in 1941 or 1942 for military operators at Beer Head radar station, some four miles away, and is likely to have been built to a standard design as one of the many similar camps built for non-combatant military personnel during the Second World War. The camp, visible on an RAF photo of 1946, comprised 23 small buildings which included sleeping shelters and a small rifle range. The sleeping shelter which is the subject of this assessment is in the north-west corner, orientated east-west, parallel to the road.
The radar station closed in 1946 but the accommodation camp was retained. It became a holiday park in the 1970s. Many of the buildings were converted to lodges with this sleeping shelter becoming a store.
The bunker is a single storey, rectangular building of five bays, constructed of mass-concrete with a flat roof on the south side and monopitch to the north. The entrance porch forms a small extension at the south-west corner. There appears to be double doors to the northern part of the building and another door to the south. The southwest door has stencilled lettering on it which reads ‘Sleeping shelter for 12’. This is the only discernible evidence of the camp.
Although the shelter retains its original form it has lost its context due to the conversion of and removal of other buildings within the camp. In addition, although the camp has some interest in its association with the radar station at Beer Head, the removal of the structures at the latter together with the distance between the two sites, reduces the understanding of the building’s wartime purpose. As such the former shelter does not meet the criteria for listing.
It is, therefore, not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Lack of architectural interest: although apparently surviving in its historic form, the shelter is built to a standard plan and with standard materials and does not display the technological interest required to meet the criteria.
Lack of historic interest: whilst relevant to a defined period of military history and the development of early-warning radar systems in the Second World War, there is no known direct association with a particular key event within that conflict.
Lack of group value: the sleeping shelter is the only survivor within a complex of 23 other buildings, all of which have been unrecognisably altered or demolished.
In conclusion, the former Second World War sleeping shelter associated with Beer Head radar station does not meet the criteria for listing. However, it is an important reminder of the defence of Britain during the Second World War both locally and internationally.
See Designation Decision Record on Heritage Gateway for full information.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV365227Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2023. Mastermap 2023. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #140499 ]
SDV365425List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2023. WW2 bunker next to 31 Stoneleigh Holiday Park, Devon. Notification of Decision Not to Add Building to List. Email.

Associated Monuments

MDV106170Part of: Radar Station Accommodation Camp, Stoneleigh, Branscombe (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 14 2023 1:05PM