Principal Archaeological Landscape: Brendon Common
Exmoor National Park Authority
01 January 2011
Date last amended
Previously known as WWII Brendon Common
The PAL is located north east of Brendon Two Gates on high moorland west of Hoccombe Hill. To the south is Hoccombe Water; on the northern side is Hoccombe Combe.
Description of Archaeology
The PAL comprises an area of moorland that was used for military training during WW2. It lies within the much more extensive Exmoor firing ranges. The area was the focus of chemical weapons training by the Royal Engineers. A memorial stone commemorates Colonel R H Maclaren who commanded the chemical weapon troops of the Royal Engineers and was killed here on May 20th 1941. He was killed while demonstrating the newly developed five inch rocket, a few of which can still be found in this area. Towards the eastern end of the PAL are the fragmentary remains of a substantial concrete structure. It lies at the centre of a network of concrete posts stretching for hundreds of metres, the function of which is unknown but may be associated with chemical weapons development.
This area was crucial in the development of chemical weapons technology at the beginning of World War Two.