MDE8962 - Holdstone Holiday Estate, Holdstone Down (Monument)


A planned holiday villa estate along the northern slopes of Holdstone Down, originating in the late 19th Century but never fully implemented. Of the 143 plots which were marked for sale, only two are now occupied.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

The Holdstone Estate is centred at SS 6200 4815 on the northern slopes of Holdstone Down. It consisted of a planned development of plots for residential use, the intention being to create a villa estate or `holiday village'. The scheme started in the 1870s when a Mr Hawkins from Surrey acquired 235 acres of Holdstone Down from the Inclosure Commissioners ([2]). Plans were drawn up in the 1890s which show a total number of 143 plots for sale. These lay in a swathe along the northern slopes of Holdstone Down from the Trentishoe parish boundary to the east, to Sherrycombe to the west, and were serviced by a west-east road known as `Sea View Road', now marked by a track. The plan shows plots to the north and south of it. At the western end of `Sea View Road', the plan shows a road running northwards, optimistically called `Beach Road', although access to the beach would have been impossible due to the steepness of the cliffs. `Beach Road' was never built. The scheme apparently had limited success, with only 50 plots sold by 1914. Plots were still for sale as late as 1947. Today only two plots from the original scheme are occupied. They are `Moorlands' at SS 6251 4776 and `Heatherdown' at SS 6262 4782, both at the extreme east end of the planned estate. The field evidence, however, suggests that more activity may have taken place in the context of the estate. Apart from `Sea View Road' which forms the most obvious survival, there are several slight platforms which may mark the stances for structures which were never built or only briefly occupied. They cannot be conclusively assigned to this phase of activity on the Down, and their interpretation must be seen in the context of both the inclosure landscape of the 1870s (MDE8959) and the World War Two activity in this area (MDE8963). For a detailed description of these features see MDE9011, MDE9014 and MDE9015. [1-4] In 1845 a parish meeting in Combe Martin unanimously agreed to proceed with the enclosure of Combe Martin’s commons. Following delays due to the negligence of the appointed surveyor, in 1871 the Inclosure Award for Combe Martin allocated plots of land on the commons to all those with common rights in the parish. The cost of the work involved in the process of this enclosure was offset by the Commissioners who sold 409 acres of the commons. Mr WB Hawkins from Surrey bought 235 acres on the coastal side of Holdstone Down for £655, which were later part of an unsuccessful scheme to develop the down as a coastal resort. [5] The buildings known as Moorlands and Heatherdown are not visible on the 25 inch 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map. [6] The two properties are shown on the 1946-8 aerial photographs taken by the Royal Air Force. [7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 3 June 1993.
  • <2> Article in monograph: Beaumont, M.. 1989. Tithes and Enclosures. Out of the World and into Combe Martin. Combe Martin Local Histor.
  • <3> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <4> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I. and Wilson-North, R.. 1993. Holdstone Down/ink survey . Unknown. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2015. Holdstone Down Inclosure Boundary and Marker Stones.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography.
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 859360, Extant 8 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 3 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 2 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 3 tidal
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64NW/21
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64NW/25
  • Exmoor National Park Authority HER number: MDE20521
  • Local List Status (Require info)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW16
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park Authority
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 859360
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (20-50)
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (50-100)



Grid reference Centred SS 6178 4807 (1920m by 1012m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 8 2021 2:36PM


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