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HER Number:MDV55666
Name:Second World War Minefield, Northam Burrows

Summary

A Second World War minefield can be seen on aerial photographs of 1945 onwards as two roughly parallel rows of circular earthwork pits, between approximately 2.5 and 3.5 metres in diameter, along the shoreline of Northam Burrows north of Westward Ho!

Location

Grid Reference:SS 443 311
Map Sheet:SS43SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTHAM

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS43SW/7

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • (Former Type) ANTI TANK OBSTACLE (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • MINEFIELD (World War II - 1940 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1941, RAF/S171, NMR RAF/S171 12-15 01-JUN-1941 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349056.

The earthwork pits defining a Second World War minefield are not visible and must therefore post-date June 1941.


Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/LA/102, NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5027-5028 17-JAN-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349060.

Second World War circular earthwork pits are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/UK/957, NMR RAF/106G/UK/957 3025 30-OCT-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349054.

Second World War circular earthwork pits are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1946, 106G/UK 1420 (Aerial Photograph). SDV339466.


Royal Air Force, 1957, RAF/58/2205 F21, NMR RAF/58/2205 F21 0105-0106 5-JUL-1957 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349736.

Second World War circular earthwork pits, probably a minefield, are visible on the coast at Northam Burrows. Those to the south of the minefield have been damaged by vehicle tracks. Those to the east of Sandymere appear to have been infilled.


Meridian Airmaps Limited, 1967, MAL/67086, NMR MAL/67086 074-075 12-OCT-1967 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349071.

The southern end of the Second World War minefield is no longer visible on the coast at Northam Burrows.


Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89115, NMR OS/89115 238-239 04-MAY-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349086.

The majority of the earthwork pits, probably remains of a minefield of Second World War date, are no longer visible on the coast at Northam Burrows.


Ordnance Survey, 1992, OS/92243, NMR OS/92243 122-123 07-JUL-1992 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349088.

The earthwork pits remain clearly visible to the south-east of Sandymere. Those to the north of the Burrows are less clearly visible.


Horner, W., 1996, Anti-Tank Obstacles at Northam Burrows (Worksheet). SDV357259.

Royal Air force 1946 Aerial Photograph records possible concrete anti-tank obstacles on western side of Northam Burrows, at the back of Westward Ho! sands. One visible run run along or just off the shingle bank. One run from south side of Sandymere, inland around the mere then north to the tip of the Burrows. Appear to be grouped in twos, with the second line's pairs behind the gaps between the front pairs.


Next Perspectives, 2007, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:, Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4430 04-MAY-2007 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349344.

The earthwork pits remain visible only to the north of Northam Burrows and to the south-east of Sandymere.


Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 34 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011 - 2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

Two rows of roughly parallel circular pits, between 2.5 and 3.5 metres in diameter, can be seen along the Northam Burrows shoreline on aerial photographs of 1945 onwards. The pits outline the area of what was probably a relatively small minefield of Second World War date, part of the wider coastal anti-invasion defences in this area. It is unclear from the photographs alone whether the minefield remained active in 1945. The pits can be seen in three areas; a circa 380 metres stretch to the south-east of Sandymere; circa 1.25km between Sandymere and the northern tip of Northam Burrows; and a short strech of circa 30 metres across the neck of the shingle spit, east of the northern tip of the burrows. The pits appear largely to have been removed, obscured by the coastal shingle bank or lost to coastal erosion (circa 140 metres lost at the south western end) by the late 1980s or early 1990s. Two exceptions can be seen, with short stretches visible on digital interactive aerial photographs derived from a sortie flown in May 2007; the first survives at the very tip of Northam Burrows at circa SS44513181 and the second inland on the south-eastern side of Sandymere, at circa SS43913063.


Passmore, A. J., 2013, Northam Burrows FEP Consultation Pro-forma (Report - non-specific). SDV356811.


Passmore, A., 2014, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon: Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, 5, 8, 11; Figures 2, 7; Plate 3; Appendix 1.3 (Report - Survey). SDV356810.

One of a series of anti-invasion defences located above the foreshore of Northam Burrows. Under threat from coastal erosion and landscaping on the adjacent golf course. The northwest side of the burrows was protected by a minefield, which has been suggested was an anti-tank obstruction, that was laid from the northern end of the main pebble ridge at Sandymere to the northern tip of the burrows. Contemporary photographs indicate that the mines were placed above the high water mark within dunes and on a flat beach that has since been lost to coastal erosion.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV339466Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. 106G/UK 1420. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 34.
SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011 - 2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349054Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/UK/957. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/957 3025 30-OCT-1945.
SDV349056Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1941. RAF/S171. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/S171 12-15 01-JUN-1941.
SDV349060Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/LA/102. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/LA/102 5027-5028 17-JAN-1945.
SDV349071Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1967. MAL/67086. Meridian Airmaps Limited Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR MAL/67086 074-075 12-OCT-1967.
SDV349086Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89115. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR OS/89115 238-239 04-MAY-1989.
SDV349088Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1992. OS/92243. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR OS/92243 122-123 07-JUL-1992.
SDV349344Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2007. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref:. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Tile Ref: SS4430 04-MAY-2007.
SDV349736Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1957. RAF/58/2205 F21. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/58/2205 F21 0105-0106 5-JUL-1957.
SDV356810Report - Survey: Passmore, A.. 2014. Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon: Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey. AC Archaeology. CD760/2/3. A4 Bound + Digital. 5, 8, 11; Figures 2, 7; Plate 3; Appendix 1.3.
SDV356811Report - non-specific: Passmore, A. J.. 2013. Northam Burrows FEP Consultation Pro-forma. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV357259Worksheet: Horner, W.. 1996. Anti-Tank Obstacles at Northam Burrows. Defence of Britain Project. Worksheet + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV102487Related to: Possible slit trenches, Northam Burrows. (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project
  • EDV6518 - Archaeological Survey of Northam Burrows (Ref: ACD760)

Date Last Edited:Jul 16 2015 2:45PM