MSO7672 - World War Two winch dugout at North Hill (Monument)


An earthen mound with an integral concrete structure. It measures 32 metres by 26 metres and is 3.2 metres high. It is suggested the building contained the winch mechanism for moving the targets used in World War Two battle practices.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Centred at SS 92685 48550 is an earthen mound with integral concrete structure. The mound measures 32 metres by 26 metres and is 3.2 metres high. Its southern end has been used to dump farm rubbish. Within the mound at its northern end are two lengths of walling oriented north to south forming the west, east (and south) sides of a roofless structure. They are 9.2 metres long: their southern ends are 0.6 metres thick (for 7 metres) and appear to be a concrete capping on brick walling, their northern ends (for some 2.2 metres) are 1 metres thick and constructed of reinforced concrete. To the south of the structure is a length of well defined bank 3 metres wide and 0.8 metres high, now partly obscured by rubbish. The function of this site is not clear, but it is definitely associated with World War Two activity on North Hill. [1] The mound referred to above [1] is visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs. The mound is centred at SS 9269 4855 and measures about 32 metres long by 19 metres wide and is as described by [1]. [2,3] An underground structure identified from 1946 aerial photographs at SS 9270 4855 with large open front. [2] Possibly still visible on aerial photographs in 1993. [4] A World War Two coast artillery battery with 4 inch guns was sited at about ST 928 486. [5] A large bunker to the northeast of the animal shelter. At the east end on the northern side there are two substantial concrete walls. They are parallel and at the northern end each kinks outwards. The area between has been filled with earth but the farmer has recently dug a large hole to the east of the eastern wall. This shows only mound material and one c.15 centimetre diameter pipe running from the wall east. The concrete walls are very similar to those at MSO8101 which suggests that this may be the coast artillery battery. [6] Documentary sources record the Emergency Coast Artillery battery being at Minehead Harbour (Somerset HER PRN 35359) so the function of this site is not clear. [7] This is probably a winch dugout. The northern section of the east and west walls, c. 1 metre thick reinforced concrete, are probably the blast walls or wing walls used to protect the entrance of the dugout, which like the battery at Minehead Harbour, would have contained a winch. The southern lengths of the east and west walls are also probably reinforced concrete with brick shuttering, but likely to be less thick given that they would be protected by the mound. The concrete capping to these walls may be the remains of the dugout's roof, which may have been removed. The 15 centimetre piping mentioned above is likely to be the conduit for power/communication cabling which may have been run to the dugout. This dugout was probably used to winch targets for use in battle practices, when the AFVs moved from east to west across the range. [8]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 26 February 1998.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: July 1946. RAF 106G\UK\1655 4005 to 4013. 4010, 4011.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/79013 162-163 (17 April 1979).
  • <4>XY Archive: Severn Estuary Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment: SS 94 NW. MD000133. [Mapped feature: #46806 ]
  • <5> Aerial photograph: 1993. SCC Geonex Run 3. 85.
  • <6> Article in serial: Osborn, B. 1983. Minehead without parish survey. SANHS.
  • <7> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. Chris Webster, SMR Officer, July 1998.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. Chris Webster, 16 May 2000.
  • <9> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. Adrian James, 14 February 1998.



Grid reference Centred SS 92692 48553 (46m by 46m) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet SS94NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO785
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12335
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 NW121
  • National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA168304
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1124646
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 35523

Record last edited

Nov 16 2020 3:59PM


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