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HER Number:MDV39421
Name:Gun Emplacement at southeastern end of Axmouth Harbour


Second World War gun emplacement visible as a rectangular structure on aerial photographs between the 1950s and 2012. Part of the Taunton Stop Line constructed in 1940. It was so sited to sweep the beach at Seaton in a dual Stop Line and anti-landing role. Given its location it was probably also designed to be camouflaged as a fisherman's hut or other coastal building. Some erosion was noted in 1996 but it appears to survive relatively intact.


Grid Reference:SY 256 897
Map Sheet:SY28NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAxmouth
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMOUTH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1417458
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY28NE/153

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1956, RAF/82/1459, RAF/82/1459 F21 0048-0049 30-JUL-1956 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356135.

A rectangular structure is visible.

Wills, H., 1985, Wills, H. 1985 Pillboxes, 74 (Monograph). SDV336210.

Visit Wills lists rectangular south-west facing pillbox of mixed construction at SY257897.

Hellis, J., 1990, List of Defensive Sites (Un-published). SDV99101.

Gun emplacement, probably for a six pounder Hotchkiss size 15' x 13' 6", gunport 7' x 3' 6". The gunport and entrance have been bricked up, the emplacement is in good condition. Ngr given as SY256897.

Hellis, J., 1992, The Taunton Stop Line, 44 (Article in Serial). SDV130111.

Part of Taunton Stop Line. Guns were removed to the coast in Sept 1940.

Horner, W., 1994, East Devon Pillboxes (Personal Comment). SDV356839.

Site visit on 16th March 1994. Square brick pillbox. Gunport faces southwest over river mouth and along beach. Blocked door on northwest face. HMG or 6pdr emplacement, probably former. 'Coastal Crust'? Rather than Stop-line?

Horner, W., 1994, The Taunton Stop Line (Un-published). SDV358963.

There is an unusual pill box at the harbour mouth, a square brick structure which would have housed one of the few anti-tank guns on the line. It was sited to sweep the beach at Seaton in a dual Stop Line and anti-landing role. In such a forward position it was probably also designed to be camouflaged, presumably as a fisherman's hut or some such coastal building.

Cochrane, J. N., 1996, Pillbox Above Seaton Harbour (Worksheet). SDV356842.

Square pillbox above the mouth of Seaton Harbour, Axmouth. Square type with large aperture, gun emplacement. Entrance and aperture bricked off, brick cladding eroding (Concrete platform adjacent).

Channel Coast Observatory, 2001-2012, Channel Coast Observatory Aerial Photography, Channel Coast Observatory SY2589_20120917ortho.ecw 17-SEP-2012 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351226.

Part of a flat roofed structure is visible, the rest obscured by tree cover.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, Site No. 3001 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Pillbox. Part of Taunton Stop Line.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

The Second World War pillbox is visible as a rectangular flat roofed structure, circa 3 by 4 metres in plan, on aerial photographs taken between 1956 and 2012. The quality of the available 1940s aerial photographs that cover this site is poor and this area cannot be seen clearly. It is obscured by scrub in the 2012 aerial photographs, but part of the flat roof is visible.

Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

Structure shown.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV130111Article in Serial: Hellis, J.. 1992. The Taunton Stop Line. Fortress. 14. Unknown. 44.
SDV336210Monograph: Wills, H.. 1985. Wills, H. 1985 Pillboxes. Pillboxes. Unknown. 74.
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV351226Aerial Photograph: Channel Coast Observatory. 2001-2012. Channel Coast Observatory Aerial Photography. Channel Coast Observatory. Digital. Channel Coast Observatory SY2589_20120917ortho.ecw 17-SEP-2012.
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. Site No. 3001.
SDV356135Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1956. RAF/82/1459. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/82/1459 F21 0048-0049 30-JUL-1956.
SDV356839Personal Comment: Horner, W.. 1994. East Devon Pillboxes.
SDV356842Worksheet: Cochrane, J. N.. 1996. Pillbox Above Seaton Harbour. Defence of Britain Project. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV358963Un-published: Horner, W.. 1994. The Taunton Stop Line. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #90297 ]
SDV99101Un-published: Hellis, J.. 1990. List of Defensive Sites. Manuscript.

Associated Monuments

MDV119535Part of: Taunton Stop Line (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)

Date Last Edited:Apr 26 2019 12:01PM