MDE1026 - Post-medieval lime kiln at Heddon's Mouth Cleave (Monument)


A post-medieval limekiln has been restored by the National Trust, and has the stone footings of a bothy associated with it.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 655 497. There is a limekiln at Heddons Mouth. [1] (SS 6550 4956) Limekiln (NAT). [2] SS 6549 4956. A restored lime kiln, the fragmentary remains of a second and the footings of a bothy are built into the bottom of steep slopes on the west side of Heddon's Mouth Cleave. SS 65498 49567. This restored lime kiln, situated some 2.3 metres above the mouth of the River Heddon is shown, although not annotated, on the 1842 Tithe Map [3]. Similar to the kiln at Woody Bay (MDE1027) it may have originated in the 18th Century but has been disused for over 100 years. The limestone and coal for fuel were brought here by ship from South Wales, hence its position by the shore. According to Allen [4] the last load was brought in about 1870 by the "Elizabeth Mary". It was restored in 1982 by the National Trust and in 1986 was returned to full working condition. [5] The near circular kiln (its west side is built into and hidden by the slope) is about 9 metres in diameter and 5.5 metres high. Its central combustion chamber, or pot, is 3.5 metres diameter and 4.5 metres deep from the top. There are two corbelled and tapering semicircular drawholes with flat slabbed roofs, one in the north-east and the other in the south-east. They are both 2.5 metres wide, 3.9 metres deep and 2.9 metres high. In the rear wall at ground level each contains a rectangular stoking hole, about 0.5 metres square, and a poking hole of similar dimensions about 1.5 metres above ground level. The southeast lobby has a rather unusual ledge set into the west wall 1.3 metres above the ground. It is 0.6 metres wide, 0.5 metres deep and 0.3 metres high, and was apparently used for heating the lime burners food. [5] The kiln is approached by a loading ramp around the western side to the top of the bowl and there is a working area, 3 metres wide, around the base of the kiln accessed by steps from the shore. SS 65505 49564. Some 10 metres to the southeast of and below the restored kime kiln, set into the foot of the crumbling slopes almost at river level, are the fragmentary remains of another kiln, presumably predating it. The remains consist of the western bases of two drawholes (each about 3 metres long and 0.9 metres high) connected by a curved fragment of central bowl (0.9 metres wide and 0.9 metres high). It would appear that this earlier kiln collapsed, possibly being undercut by the river in flood, and the other kiln was constructed, probably from its remains, higher up the cliff. The kiln must have been infilled and it has only recently been revealed. Set into the slope about 10 metres to the southwest of the restored kiln are the footings of a small stone built building, 2.5 metres north to south by 1.8 metres, within a wall 0.8 metres thick standing from 0.2 metres to 0.8 metres high. This, like the kiln, is shown on the 1889 Ordnance Survey map [6] and is probably the remains of the lime burners bothy. Published survey 1:2500 accepted. [7] A lime kiln is visible on aerial photographs from 1972 as a circular structure centred at SS 6549 4955 measuring approximately 8.5 metres in diameter. The other structures described above are not visible. [8,9] A circular structure identified as a lime kiln. Its visibility is good on both the 1946 [10] and 1978 [11] aerial photographs. [12] The site is in good condition and stable but iron safety grid showing signs of rust. [13] At the time of survey the kiln was in the process of reconstruction after severe storm damage. It has a beaker-shaped combustion chamber open but grilled for safety. The kiln is maintained by the National Trust. [14] A circular kiln built of stone rubble restored by the National Trust. [15] Monument record reviewed as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [16,17] The limekiln is depicted and labelled on 2020 MasterMap data. [18]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Monograph: Minchinton, W.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Dartington Amenity Research Trust. 3rd Edition. Number 1. 14.
  • <2>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889. [Mapped feature: #47200 Potential bothy, ]
  • <3> Map: 1842. Trentishoe Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <4> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1978. The Waters of Exmoor. The Exmoor Press. 51.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. National Trust Plaque on site..
  • <6>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Devon 2(10). [Mapped feature: #47200 Potential bothy, ]
  • <7> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 June 1993.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 041-42 (15 April 1972).
  • <9> Archive: Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme: SS 64 NE. MD002172.
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/106G/UK/1655.3163 (July 1946).
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 2600 (June 1978).
  • <12> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6549a.
  • <13> Report: National Trust. 1994. Archaeological Site Monitoring Report.
  • <14> Report: Holley, S.. 1997. An Investigation of Limekilns on Exmoor for the Purposes of Conservation.
  • <15> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Field notes, R Akers and D Goodwin.
  • <16> Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 34633.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34633, Extant 28 April 2021.
  • <18>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #38600 Kiln, ]

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17929
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2020
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 60555
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 60556
  • Devon SMR: SS64NE/43
  • Devon SMR: SS64NE/43/1
  • Devon SMR: SS64NE/43/2
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20543
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20689
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20690
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO16
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NE8
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107803
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34633
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (20-50)



Grid reference Centred SS 6548 4956 (17m by 15m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS64NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

May 3 2021 10:27PM


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