MSO8054 - World War Two pillbox on Bossington Beach (Monument)


The remains of a Second World War Type 24 pillbox overlooking Bossington Beach. The pillbox is polygonal in shape with five machine-gun loopholes. It is in good condition.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 89055 48282. The remains of a Second World War strong post, or 'pillbox', set into the top of the southern edge of the pebble ridge skirting Bossington Beach about 6 metres above Ordnance Datum. It has clear views of Porlock Bay and the Bristol Channel from Hurlstone Point in the east to Foreland Point in the west. The pillbox is polygonal, roughly D shaped, in plan 5.5 metres northeast to southwest by 5 metres, and 2.5 metres high with a flat concrete roof. Set on a reinforced concrete base 0.5 metres to 1 metre thick it is constructed from breeze blocks, reinforced concrete and bricks and the outer face, which appears to have been renovated, of large beach pebbles. A field wall abuts the pillbox on its southwest side. The entrance (0.75 metres wide, 1.55 metres high) is in the inland southeast side and has a concrete lintel. There are five peripheral splayed loopholes for anti tank guns (each internally 0.4 metres wide 0.25 metres high and externally 0.9 metres wide 0.25 metres high) and two smaller, machine gun or rifle, loopholes flanking the entrance. The interior is in pristine condition and is of typical Type 24 construction. The design of this pillbox is based on the FW 3 Type 24 which was suitable for a maximum of 5 anti tank/light machine guns and 2 rifles and a garrison of 8 or 9 men [1]. Apart from its much better condition and slight differences in overall dimensions and its pebble facing, its construction appears almost identical to the other four pillboxes (Monument UIDs MSO 8055, MSO8053, MSO7931 and MSO7932) situated around Porlock Bay which suggests they were all built to design plan (FW 3/24) by th esame contractor. Note: The design of pillboxes was the responsibility of FW36, a branch of the Directorate of Fortifications and Works at the War Office [1]. Published Survey 1:2500 correct. [2-3] A beach defence pillbox survives in good condition. [5] It stands on the edge of the grass overlooking a gully between behind the storm beach. It is a hexagonal, single storey, flat roofed structure, externally about 5 metres by 5 metres on a reinforced concrete base. The upper part is faced with large beach pebbles. The interior is brick lined. The inland side has a door flanked by small rectangular embrasures. The other 5 walls have horizontal rectangular slits with brick around them. Internaly a 3 metre by 2.74 metre hexagon with wide embrasures, each of which has a brick-lined slot in the floor (?for cartridge cases or to take the bipod of a Bren type LMG). In the centre, a Y shaped partition of brick acts as a roof support and blast baffle. An old stone wall runs along the edge of the grassland at this point and a length has been demolished to fit in the pillbox. One section is visible below the foundation. [6] Pillbox. Circa 1939. Pebble faced brick construction on concrete plinth, bitumen covered flat roof. Hexagonal in plan. Single storey, unglazed metal framed slit openings on all fronts, except entrance, square headed opening without door. Interior, square brick core with diagonal buttresses, otherwise featureless, but in good condition. A fine example of a pillbox designed to merge with its surroundings, presumably originally roofed with pebbles set into concrete. [9] Pillbox, set into stone wall, at edge of beach. 6 embrasures. Entrance 5 feet high and 2feet 4 inches wide. Two slit trenches (8 feet by 3 feet) lie to the east of the pillbox. LOCATION: Bossington Beach, Porlock. [10] The Second World War type 24 pillbox, centred at SS 8905 4828 and referred to above [3,10] was mapped from aerial photographs taken in 1941. Located at the end of a wall on the field boundary at the edge of Bossington Beach, the pillbox is a slightly irregular hexagon, 6.5 metres at its widest point, with the rearward wall to the sea longer than the other five. No evidence of slit trenches was observed. The structure was still extant in aerial photographs taken in 1999. [11-14] The site was photographed by the RCHME in 1996. [15] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [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. 19.
  • <5> Unassigned: Hellis, J.. March 1994. Fortress Study Group. Ref JH.00128.
  • <6> Report: McCrone, P. 1991. Site Visit Report.
  • <7> Technical drawing: McCrone, P. 1991. Sketch Plan.
  • <8> 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.
  • <9> Index: 2/1/1986. Preparatory manterial for thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park.
  • <10> Digital archive: Council for British Archaeology. 2002. Defence of Britain. DEB01. S0003054.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8948/6 (MSO 31206/005) (27 June 1941).
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8948/10 (18299/10) (19 March 1999).
  • <13> Website: Unknown. 2012. Somerset Pillboxes., Accessed 9 March 2007.
  • <14> Archive: Crowther, S., Dickson, A. and Truscoe, K.. 2007. Severn Estuary Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment: SS 84 NE. MD000130.
  • <15> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberth, M.. 1996. Job: Lime Kilms And Pill Boxes [sic]. Colour. Negative.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 957591, Extant 8 February 2022.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 3 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 2 tidal
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 3 tidal
  • DoB Anti Invasion Database UID: S0003054
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO366
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10718
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12285
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NE45
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA165233
  • NBR Index Number: 96/01629
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 957591
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31214
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35354



Grid reference Centred SS 8905 4828 (6m by 6m)
Map sheet SS84NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Feb 8 2022 1:22PM


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