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HER Number:MDV72490
Name:Dams at Axmouth


Site of two Second World War defensive dams built across the mouth of the River Axe. One is visible on aerial photographs from 1946 onwards. Submerged and buried remains are likley to survive. Part of the Taunton Stop Line constructed in 1940.


Grid Reference:SY 252 899
Map Sheet:SY28NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishAxmouth
Civil ParishSeaton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishAXMOUTH
Ecclesiastical ParishSEATON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RIVER DEFENCE SITE (Built, World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1412, RAF/106G/UK/1412 RP 3323-3324 13-APR-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352504.

A discontinuous linear structure is visible. Map object partly based on this source.

Royal Air Force, 1956, RAF/82/1401, RAF/82/1401 F21 0047-0048 24-APR-1956 (Aerial Photograph). SDV356129.

A linear feature is visible, comprising two parallel structures. Map object partly based on this source.

Clarke, N. J., 1995, Adolf Hitler's Holiday Snaps, 25 (Monograph). SDV24161.

One of the dams is visible on the Luftwaffe aerial photograph. The second may be the faint north-nouth line near the mouth of the river.

Hunt, D., 2002, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV325702.

Two dams built across the Axe during WW2 to raise river levels behind for defensive reasons. One of the dams appears on a 1940 Luftwaffe aerial photograph.

Next Perspectives, 2006, Pan Government Agreement, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SY2590 17-JUN-2006 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352652.

A dark linear mark is visible across the silts, saltmarsh and main channel of the estuary.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

A linear structure visible on aerial photographs in the 1940s and 1950s is likely to be one of the Second World War obstacles constructed across the mouth of the Axe. It appears as a discontinuous single structure on aerial photographs in 1946 centred at approximately SY2526290102. By 1956 it manifests as two narrow parallel structures, circa 3 metres apart, suggesting that only the base or containing walls remained at this date. The western part appears to have been eroded by estuarine scouring, but on the eastern side a submerged double linear is visible at the base of the river channel, on the same alignment. Although no upstanding remains are visible on any later aerial photographs, dark linear marks on infra-red aerial photographs taken in 2006 indicate that some buried or submerged remains survive.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV24161Monograph: Clarke, N. J.. 1995. Adolf Hitler's Holiday Snaps. Adolf Hitler's Holiday Snaps. Unknown. 25. [Mapped features: #99934 ; #99935 ]
SDV325702Personal Comment: Hunt, D.. 2002. Not Applicable.
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV352504Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1412. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/106G/UK/1412 RP 3323-3324 13-APR-1946.
SDV352652Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2006. Pan Government Agreement. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SY2590 17-JUN-2006.
SDV356129Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1956. RAF/82/1401. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/82/1401 F21 0047-0048 24-APR-1956.

Associated Monuments

MDV119535Part of: Taunton Stop Line (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)

Date Last Edited:Apr 26 2019 10:47AM