MSO8053 - World War Two pillbox overlooking Bossington Beach (Monument)


The remains of a Second World War Type 24 pillbox overlooking Bossington Beach, of polygonal shape with five machine gun loopholes.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 89163 48391. The remains of a Second World War strong post, or 'pillbox', set into the top of the pebble ridge skirting Bossington Beach about 5 metres above Ordnance Datum. It has clear views of the extensive shingle beach around Porlock Bay and the Bristol Channel from Hurlstone Point in the east to Foreland Point in the west. Polygonal, roughly D shaped, in plan it is 6 metres in 'diameter' and from 1.2 metres to 2.2 metres high with a flat concrete roof. It is constructed from breeze blocks, reinforced concrete and bricks and the outer face, which may have been renovated, is faced with large beach pebbles. The entrance (0.65 metres wide) is in the inland southeast side but it is now infilled and partly blocked (about 0.7 metres from the roof) with beach pebbles. There are five peripheral splayed loopholes for machine guns (each internally 0.4 metres wide 0.25 metres high and externally 0.9 metres wide and 0.25 metres high) and two smaller, rifle, loopholes flanking the entrance. The interior, filled with beach pebbles, is not accessible. The design of this pillbox is based on the FW 3 Type 24 which was suitable for a maximum of 5 light machine guns and 2 rifles and a garrison of 8 or 9 men. Apart from slight differences in overall dimensions and its pebble facing, its construction appears almost identical to the other four pillboxes (Monument UIDs MSO7931, MSO7932, MSO8054, MSO8055) situated around Porlock Bay which suggests they were all built to design plan (FW 3/24) by the same contractor. Part of the flat concrete roof is breaking up and the foundations are exposed around the northern (sea) side otherwise it appears in good condition. Note: The design of pillboxes was the responsibility of FW3, a branch of the Dircetorate of Fortifications and Works at the War Office [1]. Published Survey 1:2500 correct. [2-3] A beach defence pillbox survives in good condition. [6] Built into the top of the storm beach to reduce profile. Faced with beach cobbles. Slits almost at beach level. Door partly blocked to stop shingle spilling in. Seems to have same design as (MSO8054) on the beach above. [7] Pillbox type FW3/24. [8] A Second World War type 24 pillbox, centred at SS 8916 4839, was mapped from aerial photographs taken in 1941. Located on the shingle of Bossington Beach about 80 metres NNE of the disused lime kiln (MSO8052), the concrete pillbox is constructed as a slightly irregular hexagon, 6.5 metres at its widest point, with the rear facing wall to the sea longer than the other five. The exterior of the pillbox was covered in beach pebbles, giving it a slightly oval shape in plan. The pillbox formed part of more extensive wartime beach defences along Porlock Bay and was still extant in aerial photographs taken in 1999. [10-13] Pillbox on beach. Shingle has built up around the pillbox reducing its height. LOCATION: Bossington Beach, Porlock Bay. A Second World War type 24 pillbox located on Bossington Beach, Porlock Bay. The pillbox was constructed in 1940-41 and built of brick , concrete, and stone pebbles. Shingle has built up around the pillbox reducing its height; a field visit in 1997 found the structure extant in a poor condition. [14] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [15,16]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Monograph: Wills, H.. 1985. Pillboxes: a study of UK defences 1940 . Leo Cooper (in association with Secker and Warburg). 15.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1973. 1:2500 Sheet SS 8948.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME field Investigation, 22 November 1994.
  • <4> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1995. Porlock Bay and Marsh: A Rapid Preliminary Assessment of the Cultural and Palaeoenvironmental Resource. P. 20.
  • <5> Monograph: Corner, Dennis. 1992. Porlock in Those Days. Exmoor Books. P. 73.
  • <6> Unassigned: Hellis, J.. March 1994. Fortress Study Group. Ref JH.00129.
  • <7> Report: McCrone, P. 1991. Site Visit Report.
  • <8> Technical drawing: McCrone, P. 1991. Sketch Plan.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Dawson T. 2002. How effective is archaeological fieldwork in identifying different building types of the WW2 defensive installations along the North Somerset coast between Porlock Weir and Watchet. Unpublished A level report.
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8948/5 (MSO 31206/04) 27-JUN-1941.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8948/10 (18299/10) 19-MAR-1999.
  • <12> Website: Unknown. 2012. Somerset Pillboxes.; accessed 9 March 2007.
  • <13> Archive: Crowther, S., Dickson, A. and Truscoe, K.. 2007. Severn Estuary Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment: SS 84 NE. MD000130.
  • <14> Digital archive: Council for British Archaeology. 2002. Defence of Britain. DEB01. S0007953.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 957553, Extant 8 February 2022.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1422320, Extant 8 February 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8916 4839 (5m by 5m)
Map sheet SS84NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (3)

Other Statuses/References

  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 3 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 2 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 3 tidal
  • Defence of Britain Database UID: S0007953
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO365
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12286
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NE111 Defence of Britain Project
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NE44
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA165232
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1422320 Defence of Britain Project
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 957553
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35355

Record last edited

Feb 8 2022 1:09PM


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