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HER Number:MDV72073
Name:Shapley Tor, Bombing decoy


A Second World War bombing decoy located at Shapley Tor. It was built as part of the 'N-series' of naval decoys to deflect enemy bombing from Royal Navy installations in Plymouth. This was a 'QL' decoy that featured a grid of muted lights, possibly set out around ponds or tanks of water, to resemble a port city during a blackout. It is first referenced as being in use during 1942 and was decommissioned in September 1944. Aerial photography from 1964 shows that the site had been given over to agricultural use and that no features of the decoy survive. This was one of ten naval decoy sites for Plymouth.


Grid Reference:SX 700 818
Map Sheet:SX78SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishNorth Bovey
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH BOVEY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX78SW84
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 14555733
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BOMBING DECOY (World War II - 1939 AD to 1944 AD (Between))

Full description

Dobinson, C. S., 1996, Bombing decoys of WWII, 116, 199 (Report - non-specific). SDV324125.

A Second World War 'QL' bombing decoy located at Shapley Tor (SX 700 818). It was constructed as part of the 'N-series' of naval decoys to deflect enemy bombing from Plymouth. It is referenced as being in use on 12-MAR-1942. Further naval bombing decoys for Plymouth were located at Roborough Down (SX 513 644), Boringdon (SX 532 583), Cofflete (SX 548 510), Wembury (SX 530 488), Worswell (SX 525 473), Erth (SX 382 558), Southdown (SX 438 533), Down Thomas (SX 497 499) and Hillsons House (SX 635 623).

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 18/05/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Naval Bombing Decoy N19/pl9
Aerial photography shows that by 1964 the site had been given over to agricultural use and no features of the decoy survive (citing Michael J. Anderton, 1999, Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two bombing decoy sites, pg 100).
NGR concords with that given by Dobinson (1996). Plymouth's decoys were decommissioned in September 1944, during a national descaling of bombing decoys. (citing Colin Dobinson, 2000, Fields of deception: Britain's bombing decoys of World War II, pg 205, 272).
Recorded in the Landscapes of War Recording Project (1463376).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV324125Report - non-specific: Dobinson, C. S.. 1996. Bombing decoys of WWII. Twentieth Century Fortifications in England. III. A4 Stapled + Digital. 116, 199. [Mapped feature: #47273 ]
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 18/05/2021.

Associated Monuments

MDV72074Related to: Hillsons House, Bombing decoy, Cornwood (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8134 - Survey of settlement on Shapley Common

Date Last Edited:May 18 2021 3:41PM