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HER Number:MDV51207
Name:Artillery Target Railway at East Mill Tor, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Remains of an artillery target railway course on the lower east facing flank of East Mill Tor. The railway originates at Observation Post 6, the former 'trolley shed' and follows sinuous descending course termination at Skit Bottom. Scheduled in October 2015.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 603 903
Map Sheet:SX69SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX69SW/278

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • TARGET TRAMWAY (Built, XIX - 1892 AD to 1898 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Route of the tramway shows up quite well on the aerial photographs. Map object based on this source.


Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1993, Okehampton Artillery 'D' Range Moving Target (Worksheet). SDV223253.

Observation Post 6 comprises a largely buried stone and concrete lined shelter, 6.4 metres north to south by 2.5 metres by 2.0 etres high, protected in places by substantial mound of turf and stone to depth of 1.0 metres. The interior is equally sub-divided by a cast concrete partition and is now used as an artillery observation post. The south end of the shelter, from which the railway formerly emerged, is open and protected by steep sided cutting, 2.2 metres deep, in the hillside. From the shelter, the railway U-turns and descends northwards along a steep-sided cutting measuring an average 2.8 metres wide at base and 1.8 metres deep. A bank of upcast material 2.5 metres wide by 0.5 metres high lies on the downslope crest. At NGR SX60359041 it has been cut by the range ring road after which the hillside becomes shallow, and consequently the protective bank on the downslope side is strengthened to 4.2 metres wide by 1.8 metres high. Cutting ends at NGR SX60439055 and for final 300m the railway runs through open ground. The end of the line is formed by a short incline presumably designed to slow and eventually stop the target trolley. A short branch curves north-east away from the line between a junction at NGR SX0419067 and NGR SX60389073. A further section of trackbed, divorced from the line by a stony bank runs between NGR SX60419049 and NGR SX60409060. This appears to be an earlier course of the railway though it may have been used as a shelter for those servicing the targets. A stony l-shaped mound approximately 4.5m long lies at sx60419073; several sections of corrugated iron are visible in its make up. Its function is unclear. The track remains in situ where it is crossed by the military road and several half round timber sleepers at approximate 1.0 metre spacings can be seen. Further north cast iron sleepers and track chairs are visible. Track gauge appears to have been in the region of 20 inches. It is assumed that the mass and momentum of the trolley would have been sufficient to carry the target downhill. There is no available record of the motive power employed to return it to its starting position. It would however seem likely that ponies were used. The railway was apparently devised to assist in anti-tank training. To this end the target trolley would have carried a fabric representation of a tank. Firing would seem to have taken place from the crest of the ridge running between Oke Tor and Higher Tor, 800 metres to the east.


Francis, P., 2002, Okehampton Artillery Range, 14, Appendix 4 (Report - Survey). SDV359222.

'D' Range Moving Target at East Mill Tor includes a section of 20 inch railway and a 'Target Carrier Shed' at Observation Post (6) at NGR SX6029189840.


GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Remains of the tramway still visible on the 2010 aerial photography. Map object based on this source.


English Heritage, 2015, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV357602.

PRINCIPAL FEATURES: a c.1895 inclined target carrier railway that includes a long, curvilinear cutting that follows the east slope of East Mill Tor (partly incorporated into the Loop Road) and terminating at Skit Bottom, 175m south of the East Okement Farm enclosures; and the former trolley shed, now called Observation Post 6.
DESCRIPTION: the inclined target carrier railway consists of a turf-covered stone shelter with concrete lining, known as Observation Post 6 (OP6) and a curvilinear cutting, formerly used by a moving target railway, between SX 6038390820 and SX 6029889816. OP6 measures 6.4m north to south by 2.5m, and rises to 2.0m above ground. It has a depth of 1.0m in places and forms a mound mostly covered by turf. The entrance to the south is protected by a steep, splayed stone cutting. The wide entrance portal is supported by a timber lintel, and the interior corrugated iron ceiling is supported on timber cross beams that are evenly-spaced. The side and rear walls are exposed rubble stone. The interior is subdivided into two roughly equal sections by a chest-height cast-concrete partition with iron rungs fixed to the outer face and a steel handrail to the top.
The embanked ditch, or cutting, that formed the head of the target carrier railway leads south-east from OP6 before making a sharp U-turn north. It descends through a long steep-sided cutting measuring on average 2.8m wide at its base and 1.8m deep. At SX 6029490193 the cutting ends and the trackbed joins the Loop Road; diverting east from it at SX 6035590416. Shortly before the trackbed ends on inclined open ground, a short branch curves to the north-east between SX 6041390486 and SX 6039690600. The branch may have been the former course of the railway, or used to service target trolleys. At the northern end of the trackbed, at SX 60419073, is an L-shaped mound approximately 4.5m long. It is recorded as being of stone with corrugated iron elements, its former function is unknown and it is possibly an early-mid-C20 feature.
A number of timber sleepers at approximate 1.0m intervals are visible along the course of the trackbed, and cast-iron sleepers and track chairs have been recorded in the northern section. The gauge of the track appears to have been approximately 20 inches.
EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the monument consists of two separate areas of protection. The boundary runs between SX 6038390820 in the north and SX 6029889816 in the south, to include the target carrier track bed and cutting, and Observation Post 6. The track route is subdivided by a later military loop road at SX 6035590416; the road continues at a lower level along the side of the railway bank to south to SX 6029790192. The road is not included in the scheduling. The earthwork features between SX 6041390486 and SX 6039690600, and an L-shaped mound at SX 60419073 are also not included in the scheduling. A buffer of 2m is included around the whole monument for the support and preservation of the earthworks, with the exception of the edge of the scheduling that runs along the loop road as described above.


English Heritage, 2015, Okehampton Artillery Range. Observation Post 6 and Incline Target Railway (Correspondence). SDV358968.

English Heritage is undertaking a project to consider the military buildings on Okehampton Training Camp for addition to the National Heritage List for England. Research carried out in 2002 identified a number of remains associated with the military activity on the Range. Following an inspection of these remains in June 2014, seven sites have been carried forward as part of the project including Observation Post 6 and incline target carrier, East Mill Tor.
Observation Post 6 (OP6) and the incline target railway, on the east flank of East Mill Tor, are first shown on a military Ordnance Survey Map of Okehampton in 1898 (WO/78/3444). The post is marked ‘Bombproof’, and the railway as ‘Tramway for Running Target’. The features are not shown on the survey map of 1892 (WO/78/4547), so a c.1895 date for their construction is probable.
PRINCIPAL FEATURES: the c.1895 inclined moving target railway includes a long, curvilinear cutting that follows the east slope of East Mill Tor (partly incorporated into the Loop Road) and terminating at Skit Bottom, 175m south of the East Okement Farm enclosures; and the former trolley shed, now called Observation Post 6.
DESCRIPTION: the inclined target railway consists of a turf-covered stone shelter with concrete lining, known as Observation Post 6 (OP6), and a curvilinear cutting, formerly used by a moving target railway, between SX 6029289853 and SX 6038590810. OP 6 measures 6.4m north to south by 2.5m, and rises to 2.0m above ground. It has a depth of 1.0m in places and forms a mound mostly covered by turf. The entrance to the south is protected by a steep, splayed stone cutting. The wide entrance portal is supported by a timber lintel, and the interior corrugated iron ceiling is supported on timber cross beams that are evenly-spaced. The side and rear walls are exposed rubble stone. The interior is subdivided into two roughly equal sections by a chest-height cast-concrete partition with iron rungs fixed to the outer face and a steel handrail to the top.
The embanked ditch, or cutting, that formed the head of the target railway leads south-east from OP6 before making a sharp U-turn north. It descends through a long steep-sided cutting measuring on average 2.8m wide at its base and 1.8m deep. At SX 6029490193 the cutting ends and the trackbed joins the Loop Road; diverting east from it at SX 6035590416. Shortly before the trackbed ends on inclined open ground, a short branch curves to the north-east between SX 6041390486 and SX 6039690600. The branch may have been the former course of the railway, or used to service target trolleys. At the northern end of the trackbed, at SX60419073, is an L-shaped mound approximately 4.5m long. It is recorded as being of stone with corrugated iron elements, and its former function is unknown.
A number of timber sleepers at approximate 1.0m intervals are visible along the course of the trackbed, and cast-iron sleepers and track chairs have been recorded in the northern section.
The gauge of the track appears to have been approximately 20 inches.
See report for further information.


National Monument Record, 2018, Pastscape, 832018, SX69SW61 (Website). SDV360651.

The course of a former artillery target railway on the lower east facing flank of East Mill Tor. The railway originates at Observation Post 6, the former `Trolley Shed' (2a) and follows a sinuous course before terminating some 175 metres south of the East Okement Farm enclosures.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV223253Worksheet: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1993. Okehampton Artillery 'D' Range Moving Target. Unknown.
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV357602National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2015. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV358968Correspondence: English Heritage. 2015. Okehampton Artillery Range. Observation Post 6 and Incline Target Railway. English Heritage (Designation) Consultation Report. 1424327. Digital.
SDV359222Report - Survey: Francis, P.. 2002. Okehampton Artillery Range. A4 Comb Bound. 14, Appendix 4.
SDV360651Website: National Monument Record. 2018. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. 832018, SX69SW61.

Associated Monuments

MDV113530Related to: Observation Post (6) east of East Mill Tor, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7620 - Okehampton Artillary Range

Date Last Edited:Oct 5 2018 1:14PM