MMO2526 - World War Two V shaped firing range on Porlock Common (Monument)

Summary

A large V shaped feature on Porlock Common. Linear patterns of Second World War craters appear to focus upon the western arm of the V and it is possible that the trench housed artillery firing range targets.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Two ditches or trenches are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, forming a large V shaped feature centred on circa SS 8377 4320, on Porlock Common. The trenches are over 250 metres in length and approximately 2 metres wide, with a low bank of spoil, presumably from their excavation, piled along their eastern sides. A much narrower slit may be seen to running parallel to the western arm of the V, but may be an earthwork caused by earthmoving machinery. The date and function of these earthworks are unclear from the aerial photographs alone. However, Second World War craters appear to focus in several rows upon the western arm of the V, with very few crossing it. This may be coincidence but, it is possible that the trench housed artillery firing range targets, possibly of a movable type as found in AFV (Tank) firing ranges. A movable target may account for the banding effect of the craters and the target may have been controlled, or observed, from a small structure approximately 250 metres to the south. [1-4] The ditches were surveyed in advance of proposed bailing for Mires restoration on Alderman's Barrow Allotment. The north to south ditch was described as a machine cut ditch 1.8 metres wide and 0.4 metres deep, with spoil on the eastern side forming an irregular bank up to 0.2 metres high. To the north the ditch is more irregular, possibly as a result of erosion on the steepening slope. Peat deposits up to 0.4 metres deep are exposed in the side of the ditch cut. The east to west ditch is described as a machine cut ditch 2 metres wide and up to 0.4 metres deep, with spoil on the south side up to 0.3 metres high. [5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 857-8 (29 April 1973).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540-931 (F20) 4099-4101 (8 November 1952).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK 1980. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. 3086. NMR 3166-7 (11 April 1947).
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #32569 ]
  • <5> Report: Kirkham, G. and Taylor, S.. 2008. Exmoor Mire Restoration Project: Archaeological Survey on Moorland Areas at Alderman's Barrow Allotment, Blackpitts-Exe Head, North Twitchen, Roosthitchen and Verney's Allotment. Cornwall County Council Historic Environment Service (Projects). p. 10; no. 10, 28.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1478252, Extant 19 July 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8388 4333 (250m by 291m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW
Civil Parish PORLOCK, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW275
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1478252

Record last edited

Jul 21 2021 10:39AM

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