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Okehampton Artillery Range: Experimental Parapets and Redoubt

A Scheduled Monument in Okehampton Hamlets, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6867 / 50°41'12"N

Longitude: -3.985 / 3°59'5"W

OS Eastings: 259874.908091

OS Northings: 89329.909309

OS Grid: SX598893

Mapcode National: GBR Q3.S261

Mapcode Global: FRA 27J8.CBD

Entry Name: Okehampton Artillery Range: Experimental Parapets and Redoubt

Scheduled Date: 2 October 2015

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424465

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Okehampton Hamlets

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Summary

The late-C19 military artillery range earthworks include a set of experimental parapets, a series of linear banks and ditches centred on the crest of a ridge 400m to the south, and an infantry redoubt, a curvilinear bank and ditch 200m west of the top of East Mill Tor.

Source: Historic England

Details

PRINCIPAL FEATURES: the late-C19 military artillery range earthworks include a set of experimental parapets, a series of linear banks and ditches centred on the crest of a ridge 400m to the south, and an infantry redoubt, a curvilinear bank and ditch 200m west of the top of East Mill Tor.

DESCRIPTION: the experimental parapets consist of a line of four banks, positioned end to end in a north-west to south-east line between SX 5985 8932 and SX 5994 8922. Four corresponding ditches lie immediately behind (south-west). The banks are, on average, just under 30m long and measure between 3.5 to 5.5m wide and around 1.5m high; the ditches are 2.5 to 3.5m wide and just over 1m deep. The most south-easterly bank also has a ditch in front (north) that is 2.6m wide and 0.6m deep. Behind this line, to the south, is a similarly oriented, disturbed bank and accompanying ditch between SX 5984 8926 and SX 5987 8922. Further south still, between SX 5984 8931 and SX 5986 8929 is another, longer (circa 60m), bank and ditch. All the features have sharply defined edges except where damaged by shell fire. There has been some damage to the banks. In addition two utility trenches are known to have been placed through the front line of the parapets.

The infantry redoubt is centred on SX 5976 8974 and comprises a roughly semi-circular turf and stone bank 7.5m wide and up to 2m high with a ditch 3m wide and 0.7m deep immediately to the north. On the south face of the bank is a levelled step 1.7m wide and 0.8m below the crest. A further shallow ditch 0.6m wide and 0.6m deep lies at the foot of the south side of the bank. The feature has also been damaged by shell fire. There are other smaller redoubts of unknown dates on the northern slope of East Mill Tor. Of those surviving across this range, this infantry redoubt is the largest known example. Three utility trenches also cross the redoubt bank at the centre and to the east and a further utility trench runs next to the west end of the bank.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled area is split into three separate areas of protection. The infantry redoubt to the north extends from SX5973589727 (west) to SX5978889732 (east). The experimental parapets to the south extend from SX5986989338 (north) to SX6000789234 (east) to SX598978918 (south) to SX5983789258 (west). A buffer of 2m is included around the scheduled areas for the support and preservation of the earthworks.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The experimental parapets and infantry redoubt at East Mill Tor are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Period: the Royal Artillery Training Range at Okehampton played an important role in the advancement of new military techniques and tactics from the late C19 to the present day, and has a strong cultural and historical significance, within both a local and national context. The experimental parapets and infantry redoubt are part of the earliest phase of the range’s development;
* Survival: the late-C19 experimental parapets and infantry redoubt earthwork features survive well, providing clear evidence of their original construction and the development of artillery tactics and weaponry;
* Rarity: as the official summer school of the School of Gunnery, the range at Okehampton became the most important artillery range established in the late-C19, with a set of imaginative, and in some cases unique, practice range features;
* Documentation: the earthworks have been documented in historical maps of the range, and a number of landscape and condition surveys throughout the C21;
* Group value: the earthworks have strong group value with the other related military training features. The associated camp to the north is of historic significance in itself, particularly the listed late-C19 buildings, and the range and camp should not be seen in isolation of each other. The Okehampton earthworks are a key part of a larger multi-phased military landscape that can be seen across Dartmoor.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Websites
English Heritage Pastscape entry: Monument Number 1063526 , accessed 22 January 2015 from http://www.pastscape.org.uk
The Armed Forces on Dartmoor: A Brief History , accessed 21 December 2014 from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/33309/armed_forces_ondartmoor_brief_history.pdf
Other
CAP/NCC/RC8/F/G Aerial Photograph (28 March 1969), English Heritage Archive
Frances, P (2002) Okehampton Artillery Range, Devon: Report and Photographic Survey
Probert, S, (2004) Okehampton Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey English Heritage
WO78/3334 Ordnance Survey Map of Okehampton Military Training Ranges (1898), National Archives Collection

Source: Historic England

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