MDE1027 - Post-medieval limekiln in Woody Bay (Building)


A stone built semicircular limekiln is thought to date to 1753. It measures 9 metres in diameter and 5 metres high. The structure has been consolidated, and the central bowl infilled to provide a seated viewpoint.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 676 492 There is a limekiln at Woody Bay.[1] (SS 6768 4896) Limekiln (NAT). [2] SS 67688 48978. This lime kiln is built into the base of the steep northeast facing cliffs about 8 metres above the rocky beach at Woody Bay. According to Bridle [3] it was built in 1753 and the schedule of the tithe apportionments of 1840 termed William Dovell the occupier of "Weddesbays and Lime Kiln". (It is shown, but not annotated, on the 1842 Tithe Map [4].) John Delbridge, of Woody Bay Cottage, worked as a lime-burner according to the 1871 and 1881 census returns [3] and the lime kiln has not been worked since the turn of the century. (The kiln bowl shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1889 [2] is not shown on the 1904 Edition [5].) The stone built semicircular kiln, about 9 metres in diameter and 5 metres high, has been renovated. The central pot bowl has been filled in and levelled to make a seated viewpoint. Around the east side there are three corbelled draw holes, or lobbies, with flat slabbed roofs. The most northerly draw hole is 2.5 metres wide and 3 metres high but is now used as a store and blocked off by a door so no internal details were discernible. The other two draw hoes are also 2.5 metres wide and 3 metres high and some 3 metres to 4 metres deep. They have rectangular stoke holes; the southern draw hole has a ledge set in the south wall used for heating the limeburners food. The kiln top is reached by a loading ramp from the north. As well as the road from the north the kiln is approached from the beach by a cobbled slipway and the draw holes are serviced by a level working area 1.6 metres to 2.4 metres wide around the east side. Published Survey (1974) 1:2500 Accepted. [7] Kiln just above the beach at woody bay. Built of stone rubble. One furnace + two ante-chambers. The furnace has been filled in. [8] Limekiln in good condition and stable. [9] The limekiln is 19th Century in date and was refurbished in the 20th Century. It is constructed from unrendered stone rubble. It is semicircular on plan and is built into bank. There are 2 semicircular arched swallows with rough stone voussoirs, a third swallow on right side has been infilled and plank doors inserted. [11] The building was visited in September 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 4A. [13] Monument record reviewed as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [14,15]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Monograph: Minchinton, W.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Dartington Amenity Research Trust. 3rd Edition. Number 1. P. 14.
  • <2>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889. [Mapped feature: #41192 ]
  • <3> Monograph: Bridle, H.. 2005. Woody Bay. Finial Publishing. P. 17, 21, 23.
  • <4> Map: 1842. Martinhoe Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Devon 2(15).
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1974. 1:10,000 scale map: 1974. 1:10000.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 10 June 1993.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Akers, R. & Goodwin, D.. 1992. Field Notes: 29/04.
  • <9> Report: National Trust. 1994. Archaeological Site Monitoring Report.
  • <10> Report: Holley, S.. 1997. An Investigation of Limekilns on Exmoor for the Purposes of Conservation.
  • <11> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: Martinhoe (9 April 1991) 61.
  • <12> Collection: Hesketh-Roberth, M.. 1996. Lime Kilns, Heddons Mouth, Martinhoe.
  • <13> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <14> Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 34634.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34634, Extant 28 April 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 67685 48977 (8m by 14m) (MasterMap)
Map sheet SS64NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (4A): 1544/3/109
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64NE/3
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2023
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20104
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NE9
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107805
  • NBR Index Number: 76735
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34634
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)

Record last edited

May 3 2021 10:28PM


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