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HER Number:MDV55668
Name:Second World War Anti-Glider ditches, Northam Burrows

Summary

Extensive system of anti-glider trenches on Northam Burrows recorded on Royal Air Force 1946 and Cambridge University Collection 1975 aerial photographs.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 445 304
Map Sheet:SS43SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS43SW/6

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • AIRCRAFT OBSTRUCTION (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1940, RAF/HLA/046, NMR RAF/HLA/046 1-2 02-AUG-1940 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349739.

The anti-glider earthworks are clearly visible as pale, newly cut earthworks.


Royal Air Force, 1941, RAF/S171, NMR RAF/S171 8-9, 13-14 01-JUN-1941 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349056.

The western section of the anti-glider earthworks remain clearly visible as pale earthworks.


Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/UK/957, NMR RAF/106G/UK/957 3025-3026 30-OCT-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349054.

The anti-glider earthworks remain visible, although the southern edge of the system appears damaged by vehicle tracks. This section is not clearly visible on the earlier sorties available to the survey so may be less completely recorded.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1420, NMR RAF/106G/UK/1420 3232-3233 15-APR-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349553.

The anti-glider earthworks remain clearly visible.


1975, BTS 8 (Aerial Photograph). SDV339891.


Ordnance Survey, 1975, OS/75144, NMR OS/75144 095-093 24-MAY-1975 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349078.

The anti-glider earthworks remain clearly visible, although many of the spoil-heap obstructions appear somewhat lower in height than on earlier aerial photographs.


Horner, W., 1996, Northam Burrows Anti Glider Ditches (Worksheet). SDV357268.

Extensive system of anti-glider trenches on Northam Burrows recorded on Royal Air Force 1946 and Cambridge 1975 aerial photographs. In part utilises existing drainage network but appear to be military as are discontinuous with spoil placed on alternate sides of ditch lengths.


Environment Agency, 2006, LiDAR data JPEG image (1 metre resolution), LIDAR SS4330 Environment Agency D0059359 03-APR-2006 (Cartographic). SDV349740.

The location of many of the anti-glider obstructions can be seen on images derived from lidar data collected in 2006.


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

The earthworks remain visible although much less clearly defined.


Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 36 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Extensive system of anti-glider trenches on northam burrows recorded on RAF 1946 and Cambridge 1975 aerial photos. In part utilises existing drainage network but appear to be military as are discontinuous with spoil placed on alternate sides of ditch lengths.


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

An extensive system of Second World War anti-glider ditches are visible as earthwork ditches and mounds on aerial photographs of 1940 onwards, covering an area of over 45 hectares on Northam Burrows. The layout of the anti-glider ditches is less regular than the standard grid pattern as it incorporates the extant system of drainage ditches within it. Nonetheless, several straight sections appear to have been deliberately cut, as can be seen at circa SS439304 and circa SS445306, the latter forming an irregular grid. The construction of the defences is also slightly unusual, consisting of short lengths of ditch, of varying length, and accompanying mounds formed from spoil dumped in a alternating pattern to either side of the ditches, rather than the more common single continuous ditch with small circular mounds either side. The majority of the anti-glider ditches were created on the Burrows by August 1940. A curved section of defences forming the northern edge of this irregular grid, centred at circa SS445307, was constructed later than the main system, between August 1940 and July 1941. By 1945 the threat of invasion had passed and a large swathe of the anti-glider ditch earthworks had been partly levelled or damaged by vehicles crossing the Burrows in a north-east to south-west direction, between the salt-marsh known as The Skern and the area of Pimpley Bridge. The earthworks form part of a wider system of anti-invasion defences visible on and around the Burrows, consisting of minefields and other structural anti-invasion defences.


Hegarty, C. & Knight, S., 2012-2013, North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project site visit, 19-FEB-2013 (Site Visit). SDV349357.

The ditches and some of the mounds are visible as earthworks on the ground. One of the mounds may have been subject to metal detecting activity, as a shallow circular hole, with clod of turf nearby, was observed at approximately SS4498430391.


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

Generally, these are in a good state of preservation, although some at the north-west corner have been obscured by landscaping associated with the golf course or converted into drainage ditches taking water away from the golf course. Short lengths of trenches were visible at the north-east side, and along the south side of the burrows in the vicinity of the radar station, south of the pill. Three north – south aligned groups, each with two rows spaced 3 metres apart and trenches 5 metres apart, were noted. The western group comprised four trenches, the middle group two, possibly three trenches, and the eastern group four trenches. It is possible other trenches nearby were in filled when the radar station was constructed.


Passmore, A., 2014, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon: Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, 5, 8-13; Figures 2, 7; Plates 5-7; Appendix 1.3 (Report - Survey). SDV356810.

One of a series of anti-invasion defences located on the southern edge of Northam Burrows. Sections of the trenches have historically been filled in, possibly as early as the 1940s and 1950s. More recently the trenches in the north-west corner have been converted to drainage ditches. Two lengths of trenches here have been damaged by the placement of a water trough and associated water pipe, and subsequent erosion of the ground surface by feeding animals. Plate 7 shows a group of newly identified staggered trenches south of The Pill.


Westward Ho! History Group, 2018, Westward Ho! History, http://www.westwardhohistory.co.uk/war-years/war-years-by-richard-sumner/ (Website). SDV361065.

Photographs of the anti-glider obstructions taken from the top of one of the radar station masts, are included.

Sources / Further Reading

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. 36.
SDV339891Aerial Photograph: 1975. BTS 8. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper).
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 3025-3026 30-OCT-1945.
SDV349056Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1941. RAF/S171. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/S171 8-9, 13-14 01-JUN-1941.
SDV349078Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1975. OS/75144. Ordnance Survey Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR OS/75144 095-093 24-MAY-1975.
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.
SDV349357Site Visit: Hegarty, C. & Knight, S.. 2012-2013. North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project site visit. ND AONB NMP. Digital. 19-FEB-2013.
SDV349553Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1420. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/1420 3232-3233 15-APR-1946.
SDV349739Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1940. RAF/HLA/046. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/HLA/046 1-2 02-AUG-1940.
SDV349740Cartographic: Environment Agency. 2006. LiDAR data JPEG image (1 metre resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SS4330 Environment Agency D0059359 03-APR-2006.
SDV356810Report - Survey: Passmore, A.. 2014. Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon: Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey. AC Archaeology. CD760/2/3. A4 Bound + Digital. 5, 8-13; Figures 2, 7; Plates 5-7; Appendix 1.3.
SDV356811Report - non-specific: Passmore, A. J.. 2013. Northam Burrows FEP Consultation Pro-forma. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV357268Worksheet: Horner, W.. 1996. Northam Burrows Anti Glider Ditches. Defence of Britain Project. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV361065Website: Westward Ho! History Group. 2018. Westward Ho! History. http://www.westwardhohistory.co.uk. Digital. http://www.westwardhohistory.co.uk/war-years/war-years-by-richard-sumner/.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

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:Apr 18 2018 2:42PM