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Okehampton Artillery Range: Observation Post 16 and flanking target butts

A Scheduled Monument in Okehampton Hamlets, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6767 / 50°40'36"N

Longitude: -3.9711 / 3°58'15"W

OS Eastings: 260827.320584

OS Northings: 88194.629983

OS Grid: SX608881

Mapcode National: GBR Q3.SRQS

Mapcode Global: FRA 27K9.4QB

Entry Name: Okehampton Artillery Range: Observation Post 16 and flanking target butts

Scheduled Date: 2 October 2015

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425411

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

Observation Post 16, a stone- and earth- covered concrete splinter-proof shelter, also known as a bunkhouse, and flanking artillery target butts, are situated in an extensive area of shell craters, 737m north east of the summit of Okement Hill.

Source: Historic England

Details

PRINCIPAL FEATURES: Observation Post 16, a stone- and earth- covered concrete splinter-proof shelter, also known as a bunkhouse, and flanking artillery target butts, are situated in an extensive area of shell craters, 737m north east of the summit of Okement Hill.

The shelter, centred on SX6082088190, comprises a cast-concrete shelter protected by a large mound of turf and boulders. It measures 3.2m north to south by 2.0m internally with coursed granite walls and an arched roof. The roof was apparently cast in situ. The front (south) side is protected by a cast-concrete blast wall 1.5m high with a handrail on top that would have been used to feed a system of cable pulley that the movement of targets positioned within the flanking trenches. A gap between the blast wall and the side of the protective mound provides access to the shelter. The mound is roughly rectangular and measures circa 11m by 8m and stands to a maximum of 3.9m high. The sides are retained by a coursed boulder revetment 2.0m high. There is some erosion damage to the top of the protective earthen mound.

The shelter is flanked by the remains of two target butts. The east target butt is the largest and comprises a disturbed bank 29m long running roughly east to west with a ditch on the south side. Another, lower, bank lies a few metres to the south. The main feature measures 4.5m wide with a maximum height of 1.5m. Despite the damage traces of sharp steeply sloping sides and a flat top are discernible. The ditch immediately to the south measures on average 4.0m wide and 1.0m deep. Several deliberate kinks are visible along the course of the ditch, although their specific function is no longer evident on the ground. The southernmost bank, 17m long and approximately 4m wide and 1m high, has suffered greater damage.

The trench to the west of the shelter is a smaller, single trench, measuring circa 15m long that appears to be of a similar construction to the other target butt. Both target butts have been extensively damaged in the past by shell fire.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled monument is split into three separate areas of protection, the shelter centred on SX6082088192 and two target trenches on either side centred on SX6077688165 and SX6086288213. A buffer of 2m is included around the scheduled areas for their support and preservation.

EXCLUSION: a cable tapping-in point within the interior of the mound is excluded from the scheduling, although the wall and floor structure beneath it is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Observation Post 16 and the associated target trench earthworks at Okehampton Artillery Range 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. This early-C20 splinter proof shelter and associated target trenches form of the earliest phase of the range’s development;
* Survival: Observation Post 16 is one of the best surviving of the early-C20 splinter proof shelters, and retains its associated target trenches that further add to the legibility of its function;
* 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 structure has been documented in historical maps of the range, and a number of landscape and condition surveys throughout the C21;
* Group value: the shelter has strong group value with the other related military training features. The associated camp to the north is also of historic significance in itself, particularly the listed late-C19 buildings, and the range and the camp should not be seen in isolation of each other. The Okehampton bunkhouses 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 No. 966994, accessed 22 January 2015 from http://www.pastscape.org.uk
English Heritage Pastscape entry Monument No. 967045, accessed 22 January 2015 from http://www.pastscape.org.uk
Other
Frances, P (2002) Okehampton Artillery Range, Devon: Report and Photographic Survey
Probert, S, (2004) Okehampton Range: Monument Baseline Condition Survey English Heritage

Source: Historic England

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