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HER Number:MDV77317
Name:A possible Second World War decoy building at Northam Burrows

Summary

A structure and protective earthwork of Second World War date on Northam Burrows might be the remains of a "Q" decoy shelter or, more probably, a dummy receiver and transmitter building associated with RAF Northam radar station.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 448 303
Map Sheet:SS43SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNortham
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MILITARY BUILDING (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • BOMBING DECOY? (World War II - 1941 AD to 1944 AD)

Full description

Historic England, 12/08/2015, Two Decoy Targets at Northam Radar Station, Northam Burrows, Northam, Bideford, Devon (Correspondence). SDV358957.

After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the
archaeological interest of this case, the decoy targets at Northam radar station are recommended for
scheduling.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
The two decoys associated with Northam radar station, which operated from 1941 to 1944, are
recommended for scheduling for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: despite the removal of their temporary structures, these are good and legible examples which survive as earthworks;
* Potential: they are of particular interest to the study of bombing decoy design, being one of a very small number to survive in any form in the country;
* Group value: for their strong visual and spatial relationship with the buildings and structures of Northam radar station (recommended for listing).

See report for full details.


Royal Air Force, 1945, RAF/106G/UK/891, NMR/RAF/106G/UK/891 4093-4094 08-OCT-1945 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349055.

A rectangular concrete structure and surrounding protective earthwork bank are visible. Map object partly based on this source.


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

Structure visible at end of track.


Royal Air Force, 1959, RAF/80/788, NMR RAF/80/788 0019-0020 13-MAR-1959 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349053.

The central structure appears to have been removed but the earthwork bank remains visible.


Environment Agency, 2006, LiDAR data JPEG image (1 metre resolution), LIDAR SS4430 Environment Agency D0059359 03-APR-2006 (Cartographic). SDV349740.

The earthwork is clearly visible on images derived from lidar data acquired in April 2006. Map object partly based on this source.


Bluesky, 2006 - 2007, Bluesky aerial photographs 2006 - 2007 (Aerial Photograph). SDV341189.

Site of building visible as earthworks. Map object based on this Source.


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

The earthwork reamins clearly visible.


Passmore, A. + Passmore, M., 2010, RAF Northam, Devon. "Q" Building (Report - Survey). SDV344624.

One of two "Q" buildings at RAF Northam, shown on Air Ministry plans from the early 1940s, the earth mounds of which are still visible on Northam Burrows. A post-war air photograph indicates buildings, and tracks leading to the structures. "Q" is normally a term used for a decoy site designed to draw enemy fire away from a strategic target. It is possible that the structures were constructed as dummy receiver and transmitter buildings. Such decoys are known at other radar sites. Other details: Plan, photographs. Map object based on this Source.


Passmore, M. + Passmore, A., 2011, Royal Air Force Air-Defence Radar Station Northam, 3 (Leaflet). SDV347318.

One of two decoy sites at RAF Northam identified during a survey of the site.


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

A rectangular concrete structure and surrounding protective earthwork bank blast wall of Second World War date are visible on aerial photographs and other remote sensing sources of the 1940s onwards on Northam Burrows. The central structure can be clearly seen on aerial photographs of 1945. By 1959 the structure has been removed and only the earthwork bank remains visible. The site might be the remains of a "Q" decoy shelter, as mentioned by the above authority, but there is no mention of a ‘Q’ site at Northam in Dobinson’s Twentieth Century Fortifications in England volume on bombing decoys of the Second World War; the only example in North Devon being located on Braunton Burrows to the north. More probably the site is a dummy transmitter building associated RAF Northam radar station. This site was connected to a second structure circa 400 metres to the south-west, possibly a dummy receiver block, by temporary military trackway or road which has now also been removed.


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 earthworks are substantially intact and in good condition, although the ground was waterlogged.


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

Although the internal building was removed after the war, the earthwork is in a good condition, and has not changed since 2006. There are some small mole hills in the inside the south-west corner.


Passmore, A., 2014, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon: Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, 6, 9, 12; Figures 2, 4, 7; Plate 8 (Report - Survey). SDV356810.

"Q" decoy structure, possibly a dummy transmitter or receiver building, part of RAF Northam. Evidence of erosion caused by mole hills was recorded.


Historic England, 2015, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV358087.

The earthwork remains of two Second World War decoy targets at Northam radar station.

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS The monument includes two Second World War decoy targets situated in the southern part of Northam Burrows. They are associated with Northam radar station (Grade II) which is located on gently-sloping land, including coastal grassland, to the north of the town centre.

DESCRIPTION Each decoy originally contained a temporary structure, as depicted on aerial photographs from 1946, though these were dismantled after the war. They survive as rectangular earthwork enclosures which are defined by low banks up to 0.5m high. There are breaks in the banks on two sides of each enclosure. The larger of the two decoys measures approximately 12.5m north-east to south-west by 10m north-west by south-east; the one to the south-west is slightly smaller in size.

See website for history.


English Heritage, 2015, Northam Radar Station: Transmitter Mast Bases and Associated Features and Decoy sites, Northam Burrows, Northam, Bideford, Devon (Correspondence). SDV358031.

English Heritage is undertaking a strategic designation project in the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, following on from an aerial photographic interpretive survey of the area. One of the sites highlighted as having potential national importance and meriting assessment for designation is the former Second World War radar station at Northam.
Site visits took place on 2nd - 3rd February 2015. An Air Ministry plan of underground cables at the station, dated 1941, also depicts the position of two "Q" buildings or decoy sites which were constructed to draw any German aircraft away from the actual radar station buildings to the south. They are visible as rectangular enclosures which are defined by low banks up to 0.5m high and would have each originally contained a temporary structure, as depicted on aerial photographs of 1946. There are breaks to two sides of the enclosures.
See consultation report for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV341189Aerial Photograph: Bluesky. 2006 - 2007. Bluesky aerial photographs 2006 - 2007. Bluesky. Photograph (Digital).
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital).
SDV344624Report - Survey: Passmore, A. + Passmore, M.. 2010. RAF Northam, Devon. "Q" Building. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV347318Leaflet: Passmore, M. + Passmore, A.. 2011. Royal Air Force Air-Defence Radar Station Northam. A Brief Introduction to Twentieth Century Military and Civil Defence Archae. 39. A4 Folded. 3.
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
SDV349053Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1959. RAF/80/788. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/80/788 0019-0020 13-MAR-1959.
SDV349055Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1945. RAF/106G/UK/891. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR/RAF/106G/UK/891 4093-4094 08-OCT-1945.
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.
SDV349740Cartographic: Environment Agency. 2006. LiDAR data JPEG image (1 metre resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SS4430 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. 6, 9, 12; Figures 2, 4, 7; Plate 8.
SDV356811Report - non-specific: Passmore, A. J.. 2013. Northam Burrows FEP Consultation Pro-forma. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
SDV358031Correspondence: English Heritage. 2015. Northam Radar Station: Transmitter Mast Bases and Associated Features and Decoy sites, Northam Burrows, Northam, Bideford, Devon. Letter and Consultation Report. Digital.
SDV358087National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2015. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV358957Correspondence: Historic England. 12/08/2015. Two Decoy Targets at Northam Radar Station, Northam Burrows, Northam, Bideford, Devon. Notification of Inclusion of Monument in the Schedule of Ancient Monuments. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV55665Part of: RAF Northam Radar Station (Monument)
MDV102476Related to: A possible Second World War decoy building at Northam Burrows (Monument)
MDV102482Related to: Second World War access road, RAF Northam radar station (Monument)
MDV16676Related to: Transmitter Block, Radar Station, Northam (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:Aug 18 2015 10:16AM