Monument record WLN 091 - Westleton Heath, (Including Military Training Site)

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Summary

A large area of Second World War military training is visible on aerial photographs on Westleton Heath and surrounding parts of Dunwich Forest. The site consists of gun emplacements and similar defensive structures, practice trenches, anti-landing trenches and bomb craters. The most characteristic component of this site are multiple arcs of four gun emplacements (see also WLN 089). The positioning of gun emplacements in an arc suggests that these relate to training relating to Diver Strip battery site construction. Two actual Diver sites are located nearby on the heath (WLN 032 & WLN 046) and another is recorded for the approximate location of these features, so it is feasible that not all of the earthworks relate to training. It must be noted that some of this Diver training takes place after June 1945 indicating that despite hostilities largely being over and would suggest a continuing fear over the use of the V1 and the newer V2 flying bombs. A substantial area of practice trench also gets created during this later training phase – only the main outline of this feature is indicated by the mapping, additional short trench and weapons pits are associated with its route.

Location

Grid reference Centred TM 4566 6963 (2008m by 1638m)
Map sheet TM46NE
Civil Parish WESTLETON, SUFFOLK COASTAL, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Heath. South of Dunwich Road visible on Hodskinson's Map of 1783. North of Dunich Road on 1st edition OS map.

February 2015. Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Beauty National Mapping Programme.
Bomb craters, gun emplacements and other earthworks related to Second World War activity are visible on aerial photographs on land surrounding Westleton Heath, Westleton. Areas of parchmarks are clearly visible, which may relate to the diver strip battery (SHER WLN 032) in the vicinity. Several possible training trenches are also visible across the area.
E. Ford (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 11th February 2015.

February 2015. Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Beauty National Mapping Programme.
A large area of Second World War military training is visible on aerial photographs (S5-S10) on Westleton Heath and surrounding parts of Dunwich Forest. The site consists of gun emplacements and similar defensive structures, practice trenches, anti-landing trenches and bomb craters. The most characteristic component of this site are multiple arcs of four gun emplacements (see also WLN 089). The positioning of gun emplacements in an arc suggests that these relate to training relating to Diver Strip battery site construction. Two actual Diver sites are located nearby on the heath (WLN 032 & WLN 046) and another is recorded for the approximate location (S11) of these features, so it is feasible that not all of the earthworks relate to training. It must be noted that some of this Diver training takes place after June 1945 indicating that despite hostilities largely being over and would suggest a continuing fear over the use of the V1 and the newer V2 flying bombs. A substantial area of practice trench also gets created during this later training phase – only the main outline of this feature is indicated by the mapping, additional short trench and weapons pits are associated with its route. Also visible is a group of sub-rectangular gun emplacements to the northeast of Diver site WLN 032. It is hard to discern the structural components of these defences and they may have sub-surface structural components.
The site area includes an area of anti-landing trenches previously recorded under WLN 046. Given the placement and small extent of the trenches, and those recorded under WLN 033, it could be suggested that these were dug as part of training and not for defence.
S. Horlock (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 27th February 2015.

Sources/Archives (14)

  • <S1> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/462 FP 1047 30-JUN-1945 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S2> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/602 RP 3041-3042 04-AUG-1945 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S3> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1557 FS 2225-2226 07-JUN-1946 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S4> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1636 RP 3019-3021 09-JUL-1946 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S5> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/462 FP 1047 30-JUN-1945 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S6> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/602 RP 3041-3042 04-AUG-1945 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S7> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1557 FS 2225-2226 07-JUN-1946 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S8> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1636 RP 3019-3021 09-JUL-1946 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S9> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/476 RP 3072-3073 06-JUL-1945 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S10> Vertical Aerial Photograph: Vertical aerial photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1707 RP 3294-5 29-AUG-1946 (EHA Original Print).
  • <S11> Bibliographic reference: Liddiard, R. and Sims, D.. 2014. A Guide to Second World War Archaeology in Suffolk. Guide 2: Walberswick to Aldeburgh.. 2 vols.
  • <S12> Cartographic materials: Hodskinson, J.. 1783. The County of Suffolk surveyed.
  • <S13> Digital archive: Fletcher, W. Greens Survey Shape File and Text.
  • <S14> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1880s. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 1st edition.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jan 4 2021 3:28PM

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