Monument record LCS 183 - Extensive area of Second World War military training activity

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Summary

Evidence of Second World War military training activity is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks and disturbed ground spread across an extensive area of Leiston, including part of Dunwich Forest and Kenton Hills. The activity, which is clearly visible on photographs taken between May 1944 and July 1946, was almost certainly associated with the Diver anti-aircraft batteries and associated camps located to the immediate northeast (LCS 094). One slit trench has a crenellated pattern and circular redoubts typical of First World War practice trenches; an earlier date for this element is possible but not certain.

Location

Grid reference Centred TM 4596 6433 (1309m by 1365m)
Map sheet TM46SE
Civil Parish LEISTON, SUFFOLK COASTAL, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (5)

Full Description

January 2015. Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Beauty National Mapping Programme.
Evidence of Second World War military training activity is visible on aerial photographs (S1)-(S3) as earthworks and disturbed ground spread across an extensive area of Leiston, including part of Dunwich Forest and Kenton Hills. The activity, which is clearly visible on photographs taken between May 1944 and July 1946, was almost certainly associated with the Diver anti-aircraft batteries and associated camps located to the immediate northeast (LCS 094). One slit trench (centred at TM 4576 6445) has a crenellated pattern and circular redoubts typical of First World War practice trenches; however, its appearance on the 1940s photos is confusing. If it was a First World War feature, it might be expected to have been fully levelled by 1945, given its location within what appears to be arable or improved grassland; at the same time it does not appear substantial and ‘fresh’ enough for a World War Two features. Its appearance on photographs from 1944 (S1) is compatible with a recently backfilled trench, but whether one of World War One or World War Two origin is unclear.
The evidence of activity – primarily comprising lengths of slit trench, many pits, and vehicle tracks – is spread either side of two tracks leading towards the anti-aircraft batteries (and the defended coastline) from the west. The features spread through fields of apparent arable or improved grassland (unusually for sites of this type), forestry and open areas of probable heathland (the latter across Kenton Hills). There is no apparent pattern or organisation to the activity, although some areas show signs of more intensive use than others. The site has, for the most part, been mapped by extent alone. One exception is a group of short, cigar-shaped, embanked trenches visible on the northern edge of Nursery Covert (at TM 4643 6447); these form a distinctive group, the layout of which is vaguely reminiscent of a shooting range. A second exception is a large pit and rectangular trench in Hilltop Covert, which are obscured by trees in the 1940s photographs but clearly visible as earthworks in 1958 (S4). An additional area of activity, beyond the southwest end of Kenton Hills, has been mapped as a discrete area, but as part of the same site, as the activity appears very similar (many pits), although it is separated from the main site by a band of trees.
There is good potential for some of the earthworks to have survived, for example within more recent forestry, although no obvious examples were noted on the aerial photographs.
S. Tremlett (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 27th January 2015.

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. US/7GR/LOC355 RS 4054-4056 30-MAY-1944 (EHA Laser Copy).
  • <S2> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/929 RP 3205-3207 16-OCT-1945 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S3> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1673 RS 4248-4250 28-JUL-1946 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S4> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/58/2378 V 0135-0136 28-FEB-1958 (EHA Original Print).

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Mar 11 2016 11:52AM

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