MDE11714 - West Weir, Lynmouth Western Beach (Monument)

Summary

The remains of a fish weir of probable medieval or post-medieval date are visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork reveted structure on the foreshore of Lynmouth Bay.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An acutely angled length of stone walling on western beach. It is marked by the Ordnance Survey as West Pier (bathing pool). Probably a tidal fish weir. It shows well on an aerial photograph taken in 1978. [1] This feature, possibly a reused fish weir, lies between high and low water marks on the boulder strewn Western Beach at Lynmouth. It is formed by V shaped walling, about 1.5 metres high and 2 metres wide at its base, made of stones from the shore and consolidated by concrete. The 'V' points northwards out to sea, its west wall is 60 metres long and its east wall 70 metres long. It is shown on the 1887 survey (annotated West Weir) with a break central to its eastern wall, so it was probably out of use by then. By 1904, it is shown in use with the annotation 'Bathing Pool'. The point of the V is now breached, and the ends of the walls have been extended laterally in a long southern arm connecting it to the esplanade. At low tide it is left some 3/4 full and, although now somewhat dilapidated, it is still used as a bathing pool. Its situation and similarity to East Weir, (some 300 metres away to the east on Eastern Beach, which is annotated Salmon Pool on the 1904 map), suggest that it was also originally used as a fish weir or trap. [2-4] This coastal fish weir of possible medieval or post-medieval date can be seen on aerial photographs as a timber revetted earthwork on the foreshore at Lynmouth bay, and has been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme Survey. The water filled triangular structure in use as a bathing pool, and associated `lateral extension' described above, are clearly visible on aerial photographs of 1946 onwards, and have not been transcribed. However, additional structures probably of timber can also be seen on the seaward side of the pool. These are most likely evidence of several phases of use and repair to the weir and have been transcribed extending some 80 metres southwards from the apex of the weir. The weir, or fish trap, can be seen as as an inverted V shape, the point of the V facing out to sea. As the tide ebbed, the shape of the structure acted as a funnel, trapping fish within a basket or net at the apex of the weir. Similar timber structural elements are also visible on East Weir, and the numerous weirs recently recorded in Porlock Bay. Similar structures elsewhere in Europe have been demonstrated to have been in use since the Mesolithic. The earliest examples in the UK have been found on the Isle of Wight and dated to the later Bronze age. [5-8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7249a.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1887. 6" Devon Sheet 3:SW.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Devon Sheet 3(9).
  • <4> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 29 October 1993.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1655 F20 3151-2 (11 July 1946).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 026-027 (15 April 1972).
  • <8> Report: Strachan, D.. 1997. Dating of some Inter-Tidal Fish-Weirs in the Blackwater Estuary.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7200 4994 (58m by 83m) (MasterMap)
Map sheet SS74NW
Civil Parish LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NW/62
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18004
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO348
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW57
  • National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 926186
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)

Record last edited

May 31 2016 11:37AM

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