MDE11754 - World War One gun emplacement at Countisbury Hill (Monument)


The remains of a gun emplacement are said to be from World War One and are visible as an excavated platform with two semi circular concrete bases. A brick and concrete building to the west was possibly an ammunition store or shelter.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

Two 20th Century gun emplacements are located on a levelled site overlooking the Bristol Channel. The emplacements are about 7 paces apart. The western emplacement faces northeast and consists of a central metal pin embedded in a circular concrete floor, about 46 inches in diameter. Around this, on the landward side, there is a semicircular concrete runner. The eastern emplacement is similar, but faces northnortheast, and the central floor is not visible. At about 10 paces to the west of the emplacements there is a rectangular concrete hut with a brick arched roof built into the coastal slope. Its dimensions are 5 foot 9 inches wide by 6 foot deep by 7 foot high. Four socket holes in each side wall are suggestive of former shelving. At the east end of the site there is a reclining concrete pillar. This site was manned by the Territorial Army during World War One. [1] SS 7363 4949. The remaIns of a gun emplacement are visible as a constructed platform quarried out of the steep slope some 40 metres north of the A39 road at Countisbury Hill. The platform measures 16 metres east to west by 10 metres. It is backed by the rocky quarry face and built up at the front from the excavated debris to a height of 2 metres. All that remains are two semicircular shaped concrete bases (4 metres in diameter and 7.5 metres apart) with iron centre posts set central to the platform. It is approached from the main road by a footpath leading to its western end; an earthen bank 6 metres long, 3 metres wide and 1 metre high protects this end. Set into the west end of the cliff is a contemporary building constructed of brick and concrete. Measuring 1.7 metres wide, 2 metres deep and 2.1 metres high, it is possibly an ammunition store or shelter. At the eastern end is a concrete pillar, 0.4 metres by 0.4 metres and 1.87 metres long, prostrate on the ground at the base of the cliff. According to Mr J. Sutton, an 86 year old local inhabitant, this site was used during the First World War [2]. [3] The concrete pillar is thought to be a range finding device. The battery would have been occupied by light field artillery pieces, probably of World War One age. [4] The platform and two semicircular gun emplacements are visible on aerial photographs of 1946 onwards, and have been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme survey. The lack of evidence for any recent activity on the 1946 aerial photographs would support the suggestion of First World War date. The possible range finder structure cannot be seen on the aerial photographs. [5-7] A gun emplacement, surviving only as 2 concrete bases, is located on the cliff edge. There is a stone hut nearby. [8] The site was photographed in 1996 by RCHME. [9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Report: Ferrar, R.. 1994. Gun Emplacements. Site visit 6 February 1994.
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. W Singleton, National Trust Warden, 1994.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 21 April 1994.
  • <4> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. J Hellis, Fortress Study Group.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF 106G/UK/1655 F20 3148-9 (11 July 1946).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 028-30 (15 April 1972).
  • <7> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.
  • <8> Report: Thackray, D. + Thackray, C.. 1986. Lynmouth: Foreland Point, Countisbury Hill & Watersmeet, Devon. P.16.
  • <9> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberth, M.. 1996. Job: Gun Emplacement. Unknown. Negative.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 926377, Extant 15 December 2021.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 46126
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 52971
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 53803
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/213
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/213/1
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/215
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21402
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: MD002173 Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW84
  • National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA108037
  • NBR Index Number: 97/00170
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 926377



Grid reference Centred SS 7363 4948 (22m by 16m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Dec 15 2021 4:27PM


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