MDE11922 - World War Two military camp on Tippacot Ridge (Monument)


A World War Two military camp is clearly visible on aerial photographs taken in 1952, consisting of at least 9 buildings around an access road.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The remains of a World War Two military camp are centred at SS 7717 4696. The complex is clearly visible on RAF vertical air photographs [3,5,7], and a sketch transcription of the aerial photographic evidence has been made [2]. The site consisted of a group of at least 9 buildings around an access road. The site was approached from the north by a track off the metalled lane between Tippacott and Slocombeslade. A single structure is visible close to the matalled road. Also visible on the air photograph is the base of another structure within the complex - the building presumably having been already removed. On the southwest side of the main complex are three ancillary features, one of which is circular and two are "U" shaped. Field investigation reveals that the ground evidence corresponds closely with the evidence on the air photograph. However, the eastern half of the main complex has been used as a dump, and six of the structures and one building base have now been obscured. Nevertheless, to the east of the camp, and close to the north to south field boundary, is a small banked area measuring 3.8 metres by 2.6 metres. Fragments of slight trenches perhaps associated with drainage and sanitation survive in this area and to the north. The western side of the camp is less disturbed, and here both the tracks associated with the camp, and four surviving sites of buildings are visible. They are marked by disturbed rectangular areas, all of which have fairly consistent measurements. In places concrete bases and wall footings survive to reflect accurately the size of the structures. The single isolated structure to the north of the camp, and adjacent to the metalled road survives in a similar form. To the southwest of the camp the three ancillary features noted on the air photograph are clearly visible. They consist of: 1. a circular feature now marked by an arc of concrete on its north-east side, and elsewhere by a disturbed and lumpy appearance to the ground. Sufficient of the concrete arc survives to suggest that it described a circle of some 7 metres diameter, but has now been largely robbed. 2. To its immediate south is a feature not visible on the air photograph. It is similar in form to the buildings described above. 3. South again is a "U" shaped bank of amorphous form which possibly contained a rectangular structure. 4. South of this is a second "U" shaped embanked feature, measuring 8.8 metres by 4.6 metres. The defining bank has a width of 2 metres and is 0.6 metres high. The interior of the feature has been hollowed to form a narrow trench some 0.5 metres deep.The history of the camp has not been pursued here. However, it is clear that it was probably associated with the use of Brendon Common as a training area during World War Two. [1] Aerial photographic sketch transcription, December 1993. [2-3] The camp has been transcribed from aerial photographs in more detail as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme (NMP) project. Nine Nissen Hut type structures, measuring approximately 11 by 5 metres in size, are arrayed around the metalled trackway, one of which, at SS 7721 4700, appears to be surrounded by an external blast wall and may have been used to store munitions. Two further structures of similar dimensions but with gabled roofs are visible. The first is adjacent to the access road at SS 7723 4709 and may be a guardhouse. The function of the second at SS 7713 4697 is unclear. However, it appears to be a more compex structure and its position 7 metres downslope from the circular structure at SS 7713 4698, interpreted here as a water tank, may support an interpretation as a specialised structure such as cookhouse or latrine. Between these semi-permanent structures and the U-shaped features described by the authority above are at least 45 roughly circular areas of surface disturbance at least three metres in diameter. These are interpreted as the former locations of Bell tents. The paths and trackways associated with this camp have not been transcribed during the NMP survey. This is because many such tracks were often based on existing routes and are not specifically military in nature, particularly approach roads to camps such as this. In addition, if the camp is associated with training activities using vehicles such as tanks, there can often be too many tracks caused by their passage to practically transcribe, as can be seen to the west of this camp at SS 770467. Elements of this camp remain visible on aerial photographs of 1995. [3-5, 10] The site is visible on the 1946 aerial photographs and consists of 9 Nissan type huts grouped around a loop of track. Evidence of further structures and possibly wear marks of a tented camp beside the huts. Southward from the road is an area of quite dense vehicle tracks leading onto the open moorland. [3, 6-7] Complex of buildings and parch marks with road south of Cross Gate. World War Two military site. Very good on 1947 aerial photograph. Fair on 1977 aerial photograph. [6-8] The ranges on Exmoor were used by the British Army and from 1943 by US artillery. British chemical warfare units were based at south molton and lynton and used the ranges for experimenting with means of delivering chemical warheads. A number of livens projector projectiles and 5 inch rockets may still be seen within the ranges. A camp at Brendon Common (possibly this site) was used for storing mustard, chlorine and phosgene gas. [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. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 December 1993.
  • <2> Aerial photograph transcription: Wilson-North, R.. 1993. Brendon, WWII camp at SS 74 NE 19/ink AP transcription (sketch) . 12mm + 100m. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/853 3014 (29 August 1952).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1655 3077-9 (11 July 1946).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/95026 092-3 (21 March 1995).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/020 (May 1977).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. CPE/UK/1980.3044 (April 1947).
  • <8> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7746c.
  • <9> Report: Wilson-North, R.. 1995. A Second World War Structure on Brendon Common.
  • <10>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NE. MD002168. [Mapped feature: #38311 ]
  • <11> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1001649, Extant 6 December 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NE/551
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18129
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20778
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO445
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NE19
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1001649



Grid reference Centred SS 7717 4699 (176m by 282m)
Map sheet SS74NE

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Record last edited

Dec 6 2021 5:08PM


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