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HER Number:MDV48766
Name:Observation Post at Staddon Heights, Wembury


Observation station built in 1896. A pair of cells constructed of concrete with viewing sockets seawards and roofed with armour plating.


Grid Reference:SX 488 509
Map Sheet:SX45SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWembury
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishPLYMSTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX45SE/451/1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • OBSERVATION POST (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV160844.

Des=plymouth fortress survey/pye, a.(1922)/bovisand/copy in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV160845.

Pro wo78/2314 war dept os map (1896, 1899, 1906).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV160846.

Pro wo78/2735 (14)war office plan of observing station (1896).

English Heritage, 10/02/2014, Staddon Heights DAS - Submarine Mine Observation Station and Searchlights, Wembury, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV356299.

A submarine mine observation station of 1896, with an observation post of c.1910 to the immediate north, historically associated with a Defence Electric Light emplacement (qv.) and Fort Bovisand (qv.)

MATERIALS: both structures are of shuttered concrete. The observation station is built around an earlier
limestone building, and has iron fittings and armour plating.

DESCRIPTION: the observation station is a semi-sunken concrete structure consisting of a pair of observation cells, each approached by steps at the rear end. Each contains a slab containing a recess or
instrument socket. The roofs are protected by armour plating and the viewing slits have sliding iron shutters.
The observation post is a small rectangular concrete structure with a door at the rear and a broad opening to the front. The concrete roof is partially collapsed at the front.

The Bovisand Submarine Mine Observation Station and Observation Post are listed at Grade II, for the
following principal reasons:

Historic interest: they have strong cultural and historical significance, within both a local and national
context, marking the late-C19/ early-C20 use of mines to defend against submarine attack;

Date: the observation station dates from the relatively short construction period of such structures in
the late C19;

Rarity: few submarine mine observation stations and search light assemblages survive well.
Intactness: despite some decay to the fabric, it remains largely intact and legible.
Group value: the structures form an historic group with a Defence Electric Light (DEL) emplacement,
Fort Bovisand and related structures, and with the Staddon Heights military landscape as a whole.

PLYMOUTH FORTRESS SURVEY, 1992, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV27236.

Vis=-/1/1992 (pye) submarine observation station. Built in 1896 to observe the minefield lying between the end of the breakwater and bovisand pier. A pair of cells looking seawards, a landscaped area to the front, with viewing slits protected by sliding iron shutters (still extant) and roofed by armour-plating. Approached via steps and containing slabs with instrument sockets. Shuttered concrete structure built around an earlier limestone building contemporary with the quarry. Access via the trackway from staddon and staddon point batteries. It matched another observation station above fort picklecombe (not clear whether this survives). Thus this may be the only known example around plymouth sound, and the survival of similar structures of such an early date is likely to be rare elsewhere. Now derelict. Condition good, except for the (rusted) iron shutters (plymouth fortress survey).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV160844Migrated Record:
SDV160845Migrated Record:
SDV160846Migrated Record:
SDV27236Migrated Record: PLYMOUTH FORTRESS SURVEY. 1992.
SDV356299List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 10/02/2014. Staddon Heights DAS - Submarine Mine Observation Station and Searchlights, Wembury, Devon. Amendment to List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV126638Part of: Submarine mine observation station west of Watch House Battery, Wembury. (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 14 2019 4:51PM