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HER Number:MDV39405
Name:Torcross Mortar Bunker


Site of a Second World War mortar bunker. Constructed of brick and concrete. It was badly damaged following a cliff fall in 2018 and has since been removed.


Grid Reference:SX 823 419
Map Sheet:SX84SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishStokenham
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSTOKENHAM

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX84SW/37

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175581.

Des=hellis, j. /ms list of defensive sites(1990)/in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175582.

Des=slide (horner)/(28/2/1995)/in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV2244.

Vis=28/2/1995 (horner) as above (slide).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV84920.

Vis=estimated -/-/1988 (hellis) defended wall. There is a possible spigot mortar base. The wall was obviously for firing over (hellis).

Buck, C., 01/2014, South West Coast Path Project, Archaeological Recording of Building Conservation, South Hams (Report - Survey). SDV356258.

Torcross Mortar Bunker, privately owned and well preserved. Vegetation and earth clearance from the flat concrete roof and sides of the building. Also, adjacent bushes reduced in height. A galvanised metal grilled gate was constructed to restrict access.

Hellis, J., 10/02/1989, Torcross Sites (Ground Photograph). SDV175583.

Des=photo(hellis, j. )/(10/2/1989)/jh site 00115/copy in smr.

Jury, R., 1996, Torcross Defensive Sites (Worksheet). SDV175465.

One of six sites set in the cliff at the south end of Slapton beach, which rise one above the other and are connected by a path. The gun emplacement, one pillbox and the path are in good conditon. One other structure (presumably a pillbox) has subsided. No trace of a third pillbox seen, unless it is incorporated into tunnel leading to the gun position.

Webster, C. J., 2010, Coastal Defences at Torcross (Ground Photograph). SDV345712.

Webster, C. J., 2010, World War II Coastal Defences at Torcross (Personal Comment). SDV345704.

Beyond the pillbox is a concrete wall with blocked entrances and a horseshoe-shaped platform, about 20 centimetres high, between. The concrete wall has bolts to hold a wooden beam along the top, and beyond (and well below) is a broken brick and concrete structure that may have connected to the end of the walkway to the pillbox. Other details: Photographs P302099-100, P302103-4.

Buck, C., 2012, South West Coast Path Project: Archaeological Impact Assessments of Sites at Burgh Island, Torcross and West Soar, South Hams, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV352383.

The collapsed features are unstable and liable to further collapse. There is little that can be done to arrest this, but some solution should be devised to protect the beach (that is below the ‘shaft’). The access to this site from the footpath is adequately blocked and signed to keep out. The semi-circular gun emplacement needs no further conservation work. However, if funds permit, the wall could be repointed as the mortar has fallen out of parts of the outer face.
The structural condition and intact preservation of the mortar emplacement and munitions store is excellent. It strongly contributes to this close grouping of defensive sites built as part of war preparation work at Torcross in the early 1940s.

Devon County Council, 2021, Stokenham Footpath 29 (Torcross) (Ground Photograph). SDV364093.

Photos taken in March 2018 showing the mortar bunker which was severely damaged following a cliff fall. The bunker has since been removed. A new retaining masonry wall is to be built at the top of the cliff to support the footpath.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV175465Worksheet: Jury, R.. 1996. Torcross Defensive Sites. Defence of Britain Project. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV175581Migrated Record:
SDV175582Migrated Record:
SDV175583Ground Photograph: Hellis, J.. 10/02/1989. Torcross Sites. Hellis Collection. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV2244Migrated Record:
SDV345704Personal Comment: Webster, C. J.. 2010. World War II Coastal Defences at Torcross. Printout.
SDV345712Ground Photograph: Webster, C. J.. 2010. Coastal Defences at Torcross. Photograph (Digital).
SDV352383Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2012. South West Coast Path Project: Archaeological Impact Assessments of Sites at Burgh Island, Torcross and West Soar, South Hams, Devon. Cornwall Council Historic Environment Service Report. 2012R045. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.
SDV356258Report - Survey: Buck, C.. 01/2014. South West Coast Path Project, Archaeological Recording of Building Conservation, South Hams. Cornwall Council Report. 2014R001. Digital.
SDV364093Ground Photograph: Devon County Council. 2021. Stokenham Footpath 29 (Torcross). Digital.
SDV84920Migrated Record:

Associated Monuments

MDV39404Related to: World War II Covered Way at Stokenham (Monument)
MDV39407Related to: World War II Gun Emplacement at Torcross (Monument)
MDV39402Related to: World War II Hotel Pillbox at Torcross (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4950 - Visit to Coastal Defences at Torcross
  • EDV6401 - Recording of Building Conservation, World War II Defence, Stokenham (Ref: 2014R001)

Date Last Edited:Jan 28 2021 9:21AM