Ancient Monuments

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Two decoy targets at Northam Radar Station

A Scheduled Monument in Northam, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0501 / 51°3'0"N

Longitude: -4.2165 / 4°12'59"W

OS Eastings: 244738.177348

OS Northings: 130198.272671

OS Grid: SS447301

Mapcode National: GBR KJ.G1NH

Mapcode Global: FRA 261B.Z00

Entry Name: Two decoy targets at Northam Radar Station

Scheduled Date: 12 August 2015

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425448

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Northam

Built-Up Area: Northam

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Northam St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The earthwork remains of two Second World War decoy targets at Northam radar station.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes two Second World War decoy targets situated in the southern part of Northam Burrows. They are associated with Northam radar station (Grade II) which is located on gently-sloping land, including coastal grassland, to the north of the town centre.

Each decoy originally contained a temporary structure, as depicted on aerial photographs from 1946, though these were dismantled after the war. They survive as rectangular earthwork enclosures which are defined by low banks up to 0.5m high. There are breaks in the banks on two sides of each enclosure. The larger of the two decoys measures approximately 12.5m north-east to south-west by 10m north-west by south-east; the one to the south-west is slightly smaller in size.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The two decoy targets at Northam radar station, which operated from 1941 to 1944, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: : despite the removal of their temporary structures, these are good, legible examples which survive as earthworks;
* Potential: they are of particular interest to the study of bombing decoy design, being one of a very small number to survive in any form in the country;
* Group value: for their strong visual and spatial relationship with the Grade II listed radar station.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Passmore, M, Passmore, A, Royal Air Force Air-Defence Radar Stations in Devon: the Second World War and Beyond, (2008)
Devon & Dartmoor HER MDV77317 A possible Second World War decoy building at Northam Burrows, accessed 27 January 2015 from
Northam Burrows Country Park, Torridge District Council, accessed 27 January 2015 from
The GEC Journal of Research, vol. 3, No.2 1985, B T Neale, pp73-83, accessed 18 March 2015 from
North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project: A National Mapping Project, S Knight and C Hegarty, April 2013
Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon. Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Archaeological Survey, A Passmore, March 2014
RAF/106G/UK/1420 3232-3233 15-APR-1946. English Heritage RAF Photography

Source: Historic England

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