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HER Number:MDV2812
Name:Submerged Forest, Thurlestone Sands

Summary

Extensive submerged forest or intertidal peat deposit on the beach at Thurlestone Sands has been revealed on a number of occasions and was first recorded in 1866. It was rediscovered in 1923 when a number of prehistoric artefacts were recovered.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 675 417
Map Sheet:SX64SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSouth Milton
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH MILTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1507945
  • National Monuments Record: 441056
  • National Trust SMR: 106556
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX64SE/13

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD (Between))
  • SUBMARINE FOREST (Mesolithic to Late Neolithic - 8000 BC to 2201 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SX64SE1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV150288.

Some stone tools, said to have been found with the boat, are said by Wymer to be a Mesolithic tranchet axe and a pebble macehead, perforated. Now in Plymouth Museum (citing Wymer).


Pengelly, W., 1866, Untitled Source, 355-6 (Monograph). SDV150298.


Ordnance Survey, 1905, 135NE (Cartographic). SDV150290.

'Submarine Forest (Site of)' marked on Ordnance Survey 6 inch 1905 revision of 1883-4 at SX675417.


Winder, T., 1923, Submerged forest in Bigbury Bay at Thurlestone Sands, South Devon, 122-3 (Article in Serial). SDV150239.

The submarine forest at Thurlestone Sands was first noted by Pengelly in 1866. In 1923, heavy gales exposed the clay beds underlying the sand, and about a dozen tree trunks were visible. In addition, there was a dugout canoe; piece of log 1.5m long, upper half missing (see PRN 37509).


Wymer, J. J., 1977, Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites, 65 (Monograph). SDV8096.


Western Morning News, 1990, 6000 Year Old Oaks Revealed (Article in Serial). SDV254844.

Relics of an ancient forest which could be 6000 years old have been uncovered by recent storms at South Milton Sand near Kingsbridge.
Huge timbers from ancient oak trees which have been preserved in a bed of peat, are now visible on the beach at low tide. The trees could be from the Mesolithic period when much of the west coast of Britain was covered in forest.


Tanner, K., 1990, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV150289.

About four trees and area of peat exposed by recent gales. Peat depth appears to be greater than 20cm; area exposed some 6m x 3m.


Turton, S. D., 1994, Archaeological Assessment of DCC Shaldon Bridge Reconstruction Scheme, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV18872.


Horner, W., 1998, DAP/ACB, 4-7 (Aerial Photograph). SDV141771.


Reed, S. J., 1998, Thurlestone Sands (Report - Interim). SDV150293.

Survey on an area of exposed peat conducted by Exeter Archaeology. Erosion of the peat had exposed 10 tree trunks, partially embedded in the peats' surface. Various samples taken for paleoenvironmental analysis, radiocarbon dating and entomological analysis.


Smith, D., 1998, Untitled Source (Undergraduate Dissertation). SDV150309.

Other details: University of Birmingham.


Tinsley, H. M., 1998, Untitled Source (Report - non-specific). SDV150310.


Dyer, M. J. + Collings, A. G., 1999, Archaeological Assessment and Recording at Homefield Farm, Thurlestone, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV321226.


Reed, S. J. + Whitton, C. J. M., 1999, Archaeological recording & palaeoenvironmental assessment of an intertidal peat deposit, Thurlestone Sands (Report - Evaluation). SDV150291.

1998 winter storms produced a major exposure of the intertidal peat deposit at NGR SX67654140. Exeter Archaeology undertook an assessment at low tides in February and March 1998. Observation & probing recorded an area of 500m square of peat with a depth of 21cm containing numerous fallen tree boles. Radiocarbon dating indicated that accumulation began in the early/middle Bronze Age- 1900-1630 cal BC and lasted 100-400 years. Palaeoenvironmental analysis studied pollen, plant macrofossils, insects, diatoms and foraminifera giving evidence for human influence in woodland clearance for pasture. No artefactual material was recovered.


Whitton, C. J. M., 1999, Thurlestone Sands: assessment of potential for further palaeoenvironmental analysis (Report - Assessment). SDV150308.


Glover, F., 2002, A palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of an intertidal peat deposit at Thurlestone Sands (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV150294.

Area of peat mostly buried by shingle. Four small patches revealed, largest being 5m x 1m. Seven trunks and stumps were revealed, none of which believed to be in situ, the largest being 4m in length. Core taken from deposit below the shingle layer, where uneroded, found the peat to have a depth of 40cm. Core taken from exposed peat found the depth to be only 14cm. Palaeoenvironmental analysis of pollen from core taken from peat deposit and underlying silty layer, found that in the area, the plant communities of the late Neolithic to middle Bronze Age, changed from damp woodland, to fen, to open disturbed land. Other details: Exeter University - MSc Dissertation.


Blaylock, S. + Neophytou, M., 2004, South Milton Sands & Southdown Farm: Initial archaeological assessment, 4-6 (Report - Assessment). SDV323350.

Submerged forest or intertidal peat deposit on the beach at Thurlestone Sands which may extend under the National Trust car park at SX677-415-. The deposit is the remains of a previous land surface containing numerous fallen trees. The surface has been revealed on a number of occasions and was first recorded in 1866. It was rediscovered in 1923 when a number of prehistoric artefacts were recovered (see PRNs 2813 & 37509).


English Heritage, 2013, Intertidal and Coastal Peat Database: Devon, Record ID 308 (Website). SDV350876.

Record ID 308. Submarine forest. First identified in 1866, and uncovered by storms in 1923. Associated artefacts; dug out canoe, Mesolithic tranchet axe, perforated pebble macehead nearby. Radiocarbon dates available. No dates available from this source.


Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.


Whitton, C. J. M., 30/03/2000, Evaluation of erosion at the submerged forest, Thurlestone Sands (Report - Evaluation). SDV150292.

Advantage was taken of an extremely low tide to monitor the impact of erosion to the peat deposit exposed in 1998. Some peat had been covered by sand with tree trunks visible close to the rocks to the south. Some wood had been dislodged since 1998. Erosion mainly caused by scouring action of sand and gravel, with the action of a small stream running over the surface of peat. An absolute spot height was established for future monitoring.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV141771Aerial Photograph: Horner, W.. 1998. DAP/ACB. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4-7.
SDV150239Article in Serial: Winder, T.. 1923. Submerged forest in Bigbury Bay at Thurlestone Sands, South Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 55. A5 Hardback. 122-3.
SDV150288Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SX64SE1. SX64SE.
SDV150289Personal Comment: Tanner, K.. 1990.
SDV150290Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1905. 135NE. 6".
SDV150291Report - Evaluation: Reed, S. J. + Whitton, C. J. M.. 1999. Archaeological recording & palaeoenvironmental assessment of an intertidal peat deposit, Thurlestone Sands. Exeter Archaeology Report. 99.89. A4 stapled + Digital. [Mapped feature: #85961 ]
SDV150292Report - Evaluation: Whitton, C. J. M.. 30/03/2000. Evaluation of erosion at the submerged forest, Thurlestone Sands. Exeter Archaeology Report. A4 stapled + Digital.
SDV150293Report - Interim: Reed, S. J.. 1998. Thurlestone Sands. Exeter Archaeology Report. Interim Draft Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV150294Post-Graduate Thesis: Glover, F.. 2002. A palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of an intertidal peat deposit at Thurlestone Sands. University of Exeter. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV150298Monograph: Pengelly, W.. 1866. Memoirs of the Geological Survey. 355-6.
SDV150308Report - Assessment: Whitton, C. J. M.. 1999. Thurlestone Sands: assessment of potential for further palaeoenvironmental analysis. Exeter Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV150309Undergraduate Dissertation: Smith, D.. 1998. An Assessment of the Insect Remains from Thurlestone Rock. Preliminary Report.
SDV150310Report - non-specific: Tinsley, H. M.. 1998. Pollen analysis of intertidal peat from Thurlestone Road.
SDV18872Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D.. 1994. Archaeological Assessment of DCC Shaldon Bridge Reconstruction Scheme. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 94.21. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV254844Article in Serial: Western Morning News. 1990. 6000 Year Old Oaks Revealed. Western Morning News. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV321226Report - Assessment: Dyer, M. J. + Collings, A. G.. 1999. Archaeological Assessment and Recording at Homefield Farm, Thurlestone. Exeter Archaeology Report. 99.61. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV323350Report - Assessment: Blaylock, S. + Neophytou, M.. 2004. South Milton Sands & Southdown Farm: Initial archaeological assessment. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4-6.
SDV350876Website: English Heritage. 2013. Intertidal and Coastal Peat Database: Devon. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/research/heritage-science/environmental-archaeology/Environmental-Studies-Resources/intertidal-peat-database/. Website. Record ID 308.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV8096Monograph: Wymer, J. J.. 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 20. Hardback Volume. 65.

Associated Monuments

MDV58790Related to: Bronze Age Spearhead from Leas Foot Beach (Find Spot)
MDV51934Related to: Site of former buildings, offshore at Thurlestone Sand (Monument)
MDV2813Related to: Stone tools, Thurlestone Sands (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV493 - CANOE (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV491 - CORE (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV492 - FLAKE (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV490 - ADZE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)

Associated Events

  • EDV2665 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV2666 - Archaeological recording & palaeoenvironmental assessment of an intertidal peat deposit, Thurlestone Sands
  • EDV2667 - Evaluation of erosion at the submerged forest, Thurlestone Sands
  • EDV2669 - Thurlestone Sands
  • EDV2670 - A palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of an intertidal peat deposit at Thurlestone Sands
  • EDV2671 - Archaeological assessment of DCC Shaldon Bridge reconstruction scheme
  • EDV2672 - DAP/ACB
  • EDV2673 - Archaeological assessment & recording at Homefield Farm, Thurlestone
  • EDV2675 - Thurlestone Sands: assessment of potential for further palaeoenvironmental analysis
  • EDV2678 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV2679 - Unnamed Event
  • EDV2680 - South Milton Sands & Southdown Farm: Initial Archaeological Assessment

Date Last Edited:Jul 18 2018 4:11PM