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HER Number:MDV42871
Name:Coastguard lookout, formerly an artillery magazine, at Berry Head, Brixham


The coastguard lookout is a former magazine of the Napoleonic fort. It was originally built in the late 18th century and has been a lookout since 1906. It is still surrounded by a thick blast wall and the sentry box that formerly protected the entrance through the north wall is also still extant.


Grid Reference:SX 294 056
Map Sheet:SX20NE
Admin AreaTorbay
Civil ParishBrixham
Ecclesiastical ParishBRIXHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX95NW/4/4
  • Tide Project: 17/09/2020
  • Torbay HER: MTO42871

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MAGAZINE (Built, XVIII to XIX - 1780 AD (Between) to 1802 AD (Between))
  • COASTAL OBSERVATION POST (Edwardian - 1906 AD to 1906 AD)

Full description

Pye, A.R., 1989, Berry Head Fort, Brixham. An Archaeological Assessment, 14, 15, 35, 38, Fig. 12 (Report - Assessment). SDV362497.

A coastguard station was established in 1906 in the shell of the magazine

Pye, A.R. & Slater, W.D., 1990, Berry Head Fort, Brixham, An Archaeological Survey, 9, 21-22, Figs 3, 6, 22, Pl. 21 (Report - Survey). SDV362493.

The magazine has been in use as a coastguard lookout since 1906. Originally built either in 1780 or 1794-1802, it is in very good condition. The present magazine is a square building externally with a barrel-vaulted rectangular interior and is surrounded by a 3 metre high wall of roughly dressed limestone rubble 1.8 to 2.9 metres thick. Although the tops have been removed, gable lines are visible in the north and south walls.
The original entrance was through an arched doorway in centre of north wall, protected by a sentry box. This was subsequently blocked and the present window inserted, matched by another in the south wall. The doorway was matched by another through the north wall of the enclosure, also now blocked. The entrance now is a via a doorway on the east. It is unclear whether this is an original feature or a later insertion. Firing slits were inserted during the Second World War. In 1963 the walls were heightened and windows inserted in the north and south walls.
Pye and Slater note that the magazine is shown in a similar location but in different position, astride the line of access to the battery on a plan of circa 1780. However, it is shown in its present position on a plan of 1811. The difference they suggest may be explained either by variation in accuracy between plans, or some remodelling of the battery platform in 1794-5.

Watts, M. + S., 2020, Berry Head Fort No. 3 (Ground Photograph). SDV363853.

Photos of structures and buildings within the former Napoleonic fort.

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

Square building within a square enclosure shown.

Historic England, 2020, National Heritage List for England, 1298254 (National Heritage List for England). SDV363414.

Coastguard lookout in northernfort including perimeter wall. Artillery magazine, now HM Coastguard lookout. Probably c1780,remodelled 1794-1802. Heightened in C20 to make the lookout.
See listing description for full details.
Date first listed: 18th October 1993

Sources / Further Reading

SDV362493Report - Survey: Pye, A.R. & Slater, W.D.. 1990. Berry Head Fort, Brixham, An Archaeological Survey. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. EMAFU 90.10. Hardcopy + Digital. 9, 21-22, Figs 3, 6, 22, Pl. 21.
Linked documents:1
SDV362497Report - Assessment: Pye, A.R.. 1989. Berry Head Fort, Brixham. An Archaeological Assessment. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit. EMAFU 89.04. Hardcopy + Digital. 14, 15, 35, 38, Fig. 12.
Linked documents:1
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #126966 ]
SDV363414National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2020. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1298254.
SDV363853Ground Photograph: Watts, M. + S.. 2020. Berry Head Fort No. 3. Digital.
Linked images:14

Associated Monuments

MDV20080Part of: Berry Head Fort No. 3, Brixham (Monument)
MDV20082Related to: Artillery store at Berry Head Fort No. 3, Brixham (Building)
MDV20081Related to: Sentry Box at Berry Head Fort No. 3, Brixham (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7797 - Architectural Survey by DA Buildings Section 1988
  • EDV7832 - Documentary research on the Berry Head Fort
  • EDV7834 - Archaeological Assessment of the Berry Head Forts
  • EDV7835 - Archaeological Survey of the Berry Head Forts

Date Last Edited:Mar 29 2024 4:56PM