MDE9011 - World War Two building complex on Holdstone Down (Monument)


A probable World War Two building complex includes platforms, building remains, pits and spoil heaps.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

A group of buildings, platforms and foundations centred at SS 6121 4777 extend over some 350 metres. They appear to be of recent date, and are probably associated with Second World War activity on Holdstone Down (MDE8963), industrial activity (MMO277), and later developments (MDE21579, MDE8962). At SS 6121 4777 are the remains of a building complex which may have functioned in the context of military activity on the Down - see 1:1000 survey. It consists of at least six platforms varying in form. There are stone-edged features, linear terraces some 9 metres in length, two square platforms marked by a very slight negative scarp 0.2 metres high, possibly marking the removal of ?timber structures, and a substantial cut some 1.2 metres into the hillside to accommodate a square structure, the site of which is marked by four concrete pads. There are also a number of pits of varying shape which may mark the sites of former latrines. A spoil heap to the southwest 1.5 metres high is probably associated with the development of the site and may be the spoil left over from the construction of the platforms and pits. Further structures and walling to the south of the complex may be associated with either the inclosure phase on Holdstone (MDE21579) or with the planned estate (MDE8962). They may also have been used in the context of the military occupation of this site: At SS 6123 4766 are the remains of low stony banks 0.4 metres high possibly marking the former site of a building. At SS 6132 4751 are the remains of a rectangular building measuring 7.7 metres by 3.2 metres internally, with a small outshot or extension at the northwest end. The building has walls standing to 1.1 metres high and averaging 0.5 metres thick. An entrance 1.0 metres wide is placed centrally on the southeastern end. Rubble lies around the building and has obscured much of the interior. A concentration of this material midway along the structure may mark a former internal division. Two platforms have been identified to the immediate north of the main building complex which may be associated with it or equally may be part of the Holdstone Estate (MDE8962). They are at SS 6123 4784 and SS 6120 4778. Both are of similar construction. The former is some 20 metres in length, and is defined by a stony scarp 0.9 metres high on its upslope side. The latter is some 14 metres in length and is defined by low stony rickles on its upslope and downslope sides. Surveyed at 1:2500 scale. For an overall account of the complex landscape of Holdstone Down see MDE8573. [1-4] A number of building platforms and earthworks are visible on aerial photographs on the western side of Holdstone Down. At least 8 rectangular structures are visible, varying in size from 3 metres to 11 metres in length. On the 1946 aerial photographs several of the buildings appear to be roofed, suggesting they are in use or only recently abandoned. At the northernmost end of the complex, at SS 6121 4778, a large square platform surrounded by banks is visible measuring 15 metres across, which resembles a yard or possibly a parade ground. Two spoil heaps are visible 100 metres to the north, and it is possible that these are associated with the activity here, although more likely that the spoil heaps are related to mining activity in the area (MMO1766). [5,6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 July 1993.
  • <2> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I. and Wilson-North, R.. 1993. Holdstone Down/ink survey . Unknown. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Newman, P.. 1993. Holdstone Down/ink survey . Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <4> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1501 4425-26 (13 May 1946).
  • <6>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 NW. MD002171. [Mapped feature: #40639 ]
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 873032, Extant 8 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6121 4775 (63m by 101m)
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (7)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 60615
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/101
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21681
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO291
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW42
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 873032

Record last edited

Nov 8 2021 4:54PM


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