HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV14854
Name:Shell Middens at Westward Ho!

Summary

Mesolithic shell middens at the south end of Westward Ho! Beach. No evidence remained in 2002.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 429 294
Map Sheet:SS42NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTHAM

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 33063
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS42NW/1
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS42NW2

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SHELL MIDDEN (Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 8000 BC to 2201 BC (Between))

Full description

Hall, T. M., 1863-1872, Privately printed manuscript (Monograph). SDV6210.

Mesolithic shell middens at south end of Westward Ho! beach. Author also recorded finds of flint artifacts and faunal and molluscan remains, the first record of mesolithic occupation and activity on this site.


Ellis, H. S., 1866, On a flint find in a submerged forest of Barnstaple Bay, near Westward Ho!., 80-1 (Article in Serial). SDV10002.


Ellis, H. S., 1868, On some mammalian bones and teeth found in the submerged forest at Northam, 80,162 (Article in Serial). SDV10003.


Young, T., 1906, Pigmy Flint Implements in North Devon, 267-9 (Article in Serial). SDV6255.


Rogers, I., 1908, On the Submerged Forest at Westward Ho! Bideford Bay, 249-59 (Article in Serial). SDV6208.


Worth, R. H., 1934, An antler from the submerged forest at Westward Ho!, 127 (Article in Serial). SDV10006.

Fragment of a red deer antler from the submerged forest at Westward Ho! Other details: Plate VII - Figure 1.


Rogers, E. H., 1938 - 1942, Some Phases in Devon Prehistory, 173-4 (Article in Serial). SDV135858.


Rogers, E. H., 1946, The Raised Beach, Submerged Forest and Kitchen Midden of Westward Ho and the Submerged Stone Row of Yelland, 109-35 (Article in Serial). SDV10007.

Record made of geological and archaeological data. Mapped, photographed and excavated kitchen midden site. Kitchen midden is a grey deposit averaging nearly 100mm thick lying between layers of blue clay and peat at cliff end of Westward Ho! beach. Contains calcareous remains and quantities of split bones and teeth. Flint flakes and cores are numerous, but finished implements rare. Evidence that earlier geological elevation would have permitted occupation and of subsequent raising and depression of clay, peat and forest levels. Other details: Plates 10 and 22 - Figures 1-2.


Ellis, H. S., 1953, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV9989.

No trace of occupation site. Kitchen midden deposit measured at about 0.6m thick according to Ellis.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1954 - 1974, SS42NW2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV10009.

In the winter of 1963-4 erosion of the beach at Westward Ho! exposed a bed of peat, a submerged forest and a kitchen midden containing flint flakes and tools. The midden now exists only as a layer with an average thickness of four inches (10 centimetres), of shelly calcareous mud sealed between two layers of blue clay below a layer of peat. The site is frequently covered by beach sand but exposures may occur elsewhere on the beach.. Other details: Illustration.


Clark, J. G. D., 1955, Untitled Source, 3-20 (Article in Serial). SDV10022.


Churchill, D. M., 1965, The Kkitchen Midden Site at Westward Ho!: Ecology, Age, and Relation to Changes inLand and SeaLevel, 74-84 (Article in Serial). SDV10008.

Site visited in 1962.


Jenkyn, B. M., 1969, Some notes on the submerged forest of Westward Ho!, North Devon, 203-6 (Article in Serial). SDV9990.

Kitchen midden occurs beneath 0.3 metre layer of fenwood peat which Radiocarbon Dating suggests accumulated contemporaneously with midden deposits. Carbon date of 6,585 + or - 130 BP has been obtained from the topmost layers. Marine clay deposits which partly cover the midden suggest that site was at sea level, and associated raised beach and submerged forest make site of great importance for study of changes in land and sea levels during last 6,500 years. Collection of flint artifacts and marine mollusca made. Layer of kitchen midden deposit reduced to about 150-200 millimetres. Other details: Plates 1-4.


Wymer, J. J., 1977, Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites, 60 (Monograph). SDV8096.

Jacobi has examined flint collections from this site in Barnstaple, British Museum, Exeter, Honiton, Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers, Plymouth and Torquay museums. Categories of Mesolithic artefacts identified include cores, blades, microliths and microburins, also a possible bone point. Breakdowns of collections given.


Jacobi, R. M., 1979, Early Flandrian Hunters in the South-West, 48,78-81,85-6,Figs 17,20,21 (Article in Serial). SDV117514.


Jacobi, R. M., 1981, The kitchen midden site at Westward Ho!. (Report - Interim). SDV10012.

Site visited in April 1980. One of the earliest shellfish accumulations to have been recorded in north-west Europe. Associated with unique range of economic, environmental and geological evidence, comprising abundant datable organic, faunal, artifactual and geological remains. Only a fragment of one midden survives owing to ages of continuous marine erosion but this can still be expected to provide much interesting information. The site was occupied during the late Mesolithic period, although evidence suggests that occupation may only have been seasonal, pointing to a more homogeneous culture of inland and coastal hunting peoples than has hitherto been supposed. In April 1980 an exposure of midden revealed at low spring tide was examined and materials, now in store in Bideford, were removed for analysis.


Johnson, N. + David, A., 1982, A mesolithic site on Trevose Head and contemporary geography, 81 (Article in Serial). SDV6219.


Hinchliffe, J., 1982, Letter to County Planning Officer (Correspondence). SDV10014.

Due to erosion the central excavation unit of the Department of the Environment proposes to remove midden completely as a rescue project in 1982.


Jenkyn, B. M., 1983, Secrets of the Sea. The Submerged Forest at Westward Ho! (Article in Serial). SDV358911.


Unknown, 1983, Stone Age Rubbish Tip Exposed (Article in Serial). SDV358910.


Unknown, 1983, Storm Exposes an Ancient Secret (Article in Serial). SDV10016.


Timms, S. C., 1983, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV10020.

Further Department of the Environment survey work in progress. Other details: Visit by Griffith and Timms.


Anonymous, 1983, Untitled Source (Article in Serial). SDV9992.

Two day investigation of midden by the Department of the Environment central unit under N Balaam including environmental sampling discussed.


Balaam, N., 1983, Westward Ho (Report - Interim). SDV9993.

The midden was exposed after a storm at the end of January 1983 and low tides made the site available for study at the beginning of February. The midden was surveyed, and parts removed for environmental sampling and excavation in the laboratory. The whole area of exposed peat was searched and surveyed. Aerial photographs taken. Magnetic samples of clay taken and produced a date of 8250 BP. Other details: Photograph.


Balaam, N., 1983, Westward Ho! Midden Under Excavation By Central Excavation Unit (Aerial Photograph). SDV358909.


WESTERN TIMES, 1984, The Forest Underneath the Golden Sands (Article in Serial). SDV361489.

Heavy storms have exposed ancient animal bones and flints used by the early North Devonians on Westward Ho! Beach. The golden sands have been stripped by freak winter gales to reveal a sumbmerged primeval forest. Archaeologists have found remains dating back to the mesolithic Age of 6500 BC to 4500 BC. They include the bones of wild oxen, deer and dogs.

A rubbish heap of shells together with the flints that ancient man used to prise them open was also found.


Berridge, P. + Roberts, A., 1986, The Mesolithic period in Cornwall (Article in Serial). SDV10024.


Balaam, N. D. et al, 1987, Studies in palaeoeconomy and environment in South West England: Prehistoric and Romano British sites at Westward Ho!, Devon, 163-264 (Monograph). SDV322416.

Surveys of 1983 and 1984 identified several discrete areas of human activity. Earliest evidence is from 'V' shaped feature containing flint flakes and dated by Carbon 14 Dating to 8180 +- 150 BP (HAR-5643). This is the earliest date yet for post glacial settlement of the south-west peninsula, but an isolated date should be treated with caution. The surviving midden deposit is probably only a fraction of its original extent. Survey found little evidence to support earlier records of large mammals, though mammalian resources clearly exploited to some degree. Greater part of deposit is of marine mollusc - predominantly mussel and peppery furrow shell - representing exploitation of two distinct ecological zones. Other details: Archaeological & palaeo-environmental surveys 1983 & 1984.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1993, Archaeological Assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV4711.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1993, Archaeological Assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements, Part 1: Southern Routes (Report - Assessment). SDV4712.


Nayling, N., 2002, Email re Westward Ho! (Correspondence). SDV6212.

Site visited in March 2001. The midden site was not visible so probably covered by sand.


Riley, H., 2002, Inter-tidal deposits at Westward Ho!, Northam, 3-5, Figs 2,4 & 5 (Report - Survey). SDV322401.

Five areas of peat were surveyed at Westward Ho! by English Heritage in 2002. The survey found substantial erosion had occured since 1984 particularly on the seaward edges of the peat & the midden deposits had disappeared. The largest area of peat (Area B), known as the 'outer peat' at SS42982951 remained to the northwest of the midden site.


Horner, W., 2002, Slide (Photograph). SDV10030.


Horner, W., 2002, Westward Ho! (Personal Comment). SDV6213.

Site visited on 28th March 2002. A few pieces of split pebble flint were noted in the upper peat exposure.


Natural Environment Research Council, 2003, Mesolithic to Neolithic coastal environmental change c6500-3500 cal BC (Report - Survey). SDV9998.

Peat island exposed in section. Bulk sample from basal clay horizon recovered for beetle analysis, and charcoal and charred roots exposed in blue clay were sampled for identification. Several cervid footprints were found, photographed, and two were block-lifted. Samples for wood identification were recovered from the burnt stump exposed in section within the peat-island, as well as from on the surface of the peat. Bulk sample from wood/reed peat exposed was recovered and minerogenic horizons were sub-sampled adjacent to bulk samples for particle size analysis and sediment characterisation. Other details: Visited 27-29/4/2002.


Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 329 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Mesolithic shell middens at the south end of Westward Ho! Beach. Surveyed 1983. Peat deposits. Represents very early post glacial settlement of the south-west peninsula. A survey by English Heritage in 2002 showed substantial erosion of peat since 1983.


Passmore, A. J., 2009, Braunton Burrows Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Archaeological Survey 2009 (Report - Survey). SDV344652.


Passmore, A. + Knight, S., 2009, Farm Environment Plan (FEP), Updated Spreadsheet of Archaeological Sites (Un-published). SDV344664.


Mills, A., 2009, Flint Found at Westward Ho! (Correspondence). SDV344218.

A Mesolithic flint tool was found on the beach at Westward Ho! in 2009.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 33063 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV344221.


Heathcote, J. + Campbell, G., 2013, NHPP 3A5 Identification of Wetland/Waterlogged Sites. 6240 Exceptional Waterlogged Heritage. Stage 1: Inventory, 25 (Report - non-specific). SDV357296.

No other similar sites in SW and a nationally important site. Mesolithic and later –including footprints. Former wet woodland and fen, now in the intertidal zone, Midden with flint artefacts, animal bone, plant environmental proxies.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV10008Article in Serial: Churchill, D. M.. 1965. The Kkitchen Midden Site at Westward Ho!: Ecology, Age, and Relation to Changes inLand and SeaLevel. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 31. Photocopy + Digital. 74-84.
SDV10009Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1954 - 1974. SS42NW2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV10024Article in Serial: Berridge, P. + Roberts, A.. 1986. The Mesolithic period in Cornwall. Cornish Archaeology. 25. Paperback Volume.
SDV10030Photograph: Horner, W.. 2002. Slide. Slide.
SDV322401Report - Survey: Riley, H.. 2002. Inter-tidal deposits at Westward Ho!, Northam. English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report. AI/18/2002. A4 Stapled + Digital. 3-5, Figs 2,4 & 5.
SDV4712Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1993. Archaeological Assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements, Part 1: Southern Routes. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.32. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV117514Article in Serial: Jacobi, R. M.. 1979. Early Flandrian Hunters in the South-West. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. A5 Paperback. 48,78-81,85-6,Figs 17,20,21.
SDV344221National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 33063. National Monuments Record Index. Website.
SDV344652Report - Survey: Passmore, A. J.. 2009. Braunton Burrows Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Archaeological Survey 2009. Exeter Archaeology Report. 09.113. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV9990Article in Serial: Jenkyn, B. M.. 1969. Some notes on the submerged forest of Westward Ho!, North Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 101. Paperback Volume. 203-6.
SDV10016Article in Serial: Unknown. 1983. Storm Exposes an Ancient Secret. North Devon Journal. Newspaper/Magazine Cutting + Digital.
SDV6210Monograph: Hall, T. M.. 1863-1872. Privately printed manuscript. Unknown.
SDV6219Article in Serial: Johnson, N. + David, A.. 1982. A mesolithic site on Trevose Head and contemporary geography. Cornish Archaeology. 21. Unknown. 81.
SDV9998Report - Survey: Natural Environment Research Council. 2003. Mesolithic to Neolithic coastal environmental change c6500-3500 cal BC. Natural Environment Research Council Project. NER/A/S/2000/00490. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV10022Article in Serial: Clark, J. G. D.. 1955. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 21. Unknown. 3-20.
SDV6255Article in Serial: Young, T.. 1906. Pigmy Flint Implements in North Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 38. A5 Hardback. 267-9.
SDV10002Article in Serial: Ellis, H. S.. 1866. On a flint find in a submerged forest of Barnstaple Bay, near Westward Ho!.. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 1: Part 5. A5 Hardback. 80-1.
SDV10003Article in Serial: Ellis, H. S.. 1868. On some mammalian bones and teeth found in the submerged forest at Northam. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 2. A5 Hardback. 80,162.
SDV10012Report - Interim: Jacobi, R. M.. 1981. The kitchen midden site at Westward Ho!.. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV10020Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1983.
SDV6213Personal Comment: Horner, W.. 2002. Westward Ho!. A4 Single Sheet.
SDV8096Monograph: Wymer, J. J.. 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 20. Hardback Volume. 60.
SDV10007Article in Serial: Rogers, E. H.. 1946. The Raised Beach, Submerged Forest and Kitchen Midden of Westward Ho and the Submerged Stone Row of Yelland. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 3 Part 3. A5 Paperback. 109-35.
SDV322416Monograph: Balaam, N. D. et al. 1987. Studies in palaeoeconomy and environment in South West England: Prehistoric and Romano British sites at Westward Ho!, Devon. British Archaeological Reports. 181. Unknown. 163-264.
SDV9993Report - Interim: Balaam, N.. 1983. Westward Ho. Department of Environment. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV4711Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1993. Archaeological Assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge Tidal Waters Improvements. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.25. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV344218Correspondence: Mills, A.. 2009. Flint Found at Westward Ho!. E-mail and attached photographs. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344664Un-published: Passmore, A. + Knight, S.. 2009. Farm Environment Plan (FEP), Updated Spreadsheet of Archaeological Sites. Exeter Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV6208Article in Serial: Rogers, I.. 1908. On the Submerged Forest at Westward Ho! Bideford Bay. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 40. A5 Hardback. 249-59.
SDV6212Correspondence: Nayling, N.. 2002. Email re Westward Ho!. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV10006Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1934. An antler from the submerged forest at Westward Ho!. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 66. A5 Hardback. 127.
SDV10014Correspondence: Hinchliffe, J.. 1982. Letter to County Planning Officer. Letter.
SDV135858Article in Serial: Rogers, E. H.. 1938 - 1942. Some Phases in Devon Prehistory. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 8. Unknown. 173-4.
SDV9989Personal Comment: Ellis, H. S.. 1953.
SDV9992Article in Serial: Anonymous. 1983. Western Morning News. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV357296Report - non-specific: Heathcote, J. + Campbell, G.. 2013. NHPP 3A5 Identification of Wetland/Waterlogged Sites. 6240 Exceptional Waterlogged Heritage. Stage 1: Inventory. English Heritage. N/A. Digital. 25.
SDV358909Aerial Photograph: Balaam, N.. 1983. Westward Ho! Midden Under Excavation By Central Excavation Unit. Photograph (Paper) + Photograph (Digital).
SDV358910Article in Serial: Unknown. 1983. Stone Age Rubbish Tip Exposed. Western Morning News. Newspaper/Magazine Cutting + Digital.
SDV358911Article in Serial: Jenkyn, B. M.. 1983. Secrets of the Sea. The Submerged Forest at Westward Ho!. Country Life. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 329.
SDV361489Article in Serial: WESTERN TIMES. 1984. The Forest Underneath the Golden Sands. Western Times. 06/04/1984. Photocopy + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV76285Related to: Mesolithic Flint tool from Westward Ho! (Find Spot)
MDV468Related to: Mesolithic Tools from Westward Ho! (Monument)
MDV50845Related to: Peat Deposit at Westward Ho! (Monument)
MDV53224Related to: Peat Deposit at Westward Ho! (Monument)
MDV44568Related to: Submerged Forest, Westward Ho! (Monument)
MDV71573Related to: Westward Ho!, Peat Deposit (Monument)
MDV71574Related to: Westward Ho!, Peat Deposit (Monument)
MDV71575Related to: Westward Ho!, Peat Deposit (Monument)
MDV44569Related to: Wooden Stakes at Westward Ho! (Monument)
MDV44571Related to: Wooden Stakes at Westward Ho! (Monument)
MDV44570Related to: Wooden Stakes at Westward Ho, (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV380 - BONE NON SPECIFIC (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FDV381 - CORE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FDV382 - FLAKE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FDV379 - MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FDV378 - TOOL (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV1969 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV1970 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV1971 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV1972 - Mesolithic to Neolithic coastal environmental change c6500-3500 cal BC
  • EDV1973 - Archaeological assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge tidal waters improvements
  • EDV1974 - Archaeological assessment of SWW Taw-Torridge tidal waters improvements Part 1: Southern routes
  • EDV1975 - Slide
  • EDV1976 - Slides
  • EDV1978 - Preliminary Report
  • EDV1979 - The kitchen midden site at Westward Ho!.
  • EDV2001 - Inter-tidal deposits at Westward Ho!, Northam
  • EDV4737 - Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, Braunton Burrows

Date Last Edited:Jun 27 2018 1:20PM