Table 1 sets out the reports filed with ADS relating to 2014.  The reports are then discussed in a little more detail, in alphabetical order of parish, as in Table 1.   A brief synthesis of the findings of 2014 completes the document

Table 1: Summary of reports for 2014



Grid Ref

Report Producer

Type of Report

Nature of Development


Umberleigh Barton Farm


Thames Valley Arch. Services

Watching brief

Construction of biomass

  boiler and district heating system


17 Castle Street


SW Archaeology


Monitoring & recording

Works to listed building


(posted 2015)

Castle Mound


Oakford Archaeology

Monitoring & Recording

Minor repair works


Rose & Crown, Newport

5674 3219

Context one Arch. Services


Conversion to residential



Winsham Cross

50403961 & 50513952

SW Archaeology

Historic Visual Assessment

Erection of two wind turbines


Mockham Down Farm (1&2)


SW Archaeology

  • Heritage
  •    Impact Assessm’t
  • Monitoring &
  • Recording

Erection of three holiday



St Hieritha’s Church


Oakford Archaeology

Monitoring & recording

Construction of toilet, water

  mains and drainage


Beara Farm


SW Archaeology


Erection of wind turbine

Combe Martin

Ash Bank, Corner Lane



Monitoring & recording

Erection of dwelling


Collacott Farm


SW Archaeology

DBA, Monitoring &


Erection of wind turbine


Collacott Solar Park


ArchaeoPhysica Ltd

Geophysical survey

Construction of solar park


Former Army Camp


AC Archaeology

Trench evaluation and HBS

Residential development


Sticklepath School


SW Archaeology

Monitoring & recording of

  test pit

None proposed – educational



Heddon Mill


Martin Watts


Conversion to holiday units


Trude Farm




Construction of wind turbine


St John’s Church


SW Archaeology

Monitoring & recording

Construction of new floor

Kings Nympton

Cawsey Meethe Mill


Martin Watts

Historic building recording

None proposed


Birch Road



DBA & geophysical survey

Residential development


Collacott Farm


SW Archaeology

Recording of evaluation


Construction of anaerobic


North Molton

Oakford Villas


SW Archaeology


Construction of three light

  industrial units



(posted 2015)

Back Lane



DBA & evaluation

Residential development

South Molton

Great Hele Barton


Thames Valley Arch. Services

Evaluation of trial trench

Construction of anaerobic


South Molton

Pathfields Business Park


SW Archaeology

DBA & evaluation of trial


Extension to business park


Hollamoor Farm


SW Archaeology

Walkover survey & HVIA

Erection of three wind


West Down

Mullacott Cross Industrial

  Estate (1)


AC Archaeology

Watching brief

Construction of industrial


West Down

Mullacott Cross Industrial

  Estate (2)


AC Archaeology

Watching brief

Erection of wind turbine


Eastleigh Barton Farm


SW Archaeology

Geophysical & walkover

  surveys & HVIA

Erection of wind turbine

DBA – desk based assessment,

HBS/A – historic building assessment/survey,

HVIA – historic visual impact assessment

A total of 27 sites were examined in 19 parishes. A total of 7 commercial firms produced the reports; however 16 of these reports were prepared by SWARCH, with only 3 by AC Archaeology, 2 by Thames Valley Archaeological Services, MFR Steinmetzer (Oakford Archaeology) and Martin Watts and one each by Context one Archaeological Services and ArchaeoPhysica Ltd. 7 of the reports were related to wind turbine proposals, 2 to anaerobic digesters and one each to a biomass boiler and a solar park; renewal energy proposals thus dominated the developments that prompted the commissioning of the reports. 2 developments were not prompted by development proposals, one of which was an educational exercise at a Barnstaple Primary School.

1. Atherington: Umberleigh Barton Farm

This report of a watching brief of the trench for pipework for a proposed biomass boiler was carried out as a requirement of planning permission in view of the status of the site. It is a grade 1 listed building that includes the remains of a 13th century chapel. However the route of the pipeline mainly cut through modern make up layers over natural geology. One robber trench may have been part of the mediaeval chapel complex or a post-mediaeval wall. There were no significant finds.

2. Barnstaple: 17 Castle Street

This report into the monitoring of minor works to a nineteenth century listed building near the Castle Mound revealed nothing of archaeological interest.

3. Barnstaple: Castle Mound

This report into minor works on the Norman motte and bailey of the Castle Mound identified no archaeological features as a result of a watching brief.

4. Barnstaple: Rose & Crown, Newport

This is a report of a desk based study and historic building assessment of the former Rose and Crown public house. It identifies the main building as 16th/17th century with surviving roof timbers with important historical features, including jointed cruck trusses and curved blades in keeping with late mediaeval/early post-mediaeval rural houses. The building forms part of a group of 16th/17th century building grouped around the mediaeval market place in the former borough of Newport. The report identifies the phases of development of the public house.

5. Braunton: Winsham Cross

This report of a historic visual impact assessment of two proposed wind turbines concluded that the overall impact could be assessed at negative/minor to negative/moderate. Winsham is an early mediaeval hamlet and the site of the proposed turbines lies within a former mediaeval field system. The impact on some of the nearby heritage assets, particularly listed buildings, is negative/moderate to negative/substantial, but there are only a small number of these. The wider impact on the historic landscape is considered to be negative/moderate. There is no doubt that the visual impact might have been considered to be more severe but for the impact of the much larger Fullabrook wind farm nearby. However, the proposal would have a cumulative impact as a result of this larger existing development.

6. Brayford: Mockham Down Farm

These two reports were produced at separate stages of the proposed development of three holiday lodges in the close vicinity of the scheduled Iron Age defended enclosure at Mockham Down Camp. The first, a heritage impact assessment, describes the context of the site and the scheduled monument. Mockham Down Camp is a univallate defended enclosure in an elevated location. It is largely surrounded by trees and views are limited. The farm is modern and lies immediately adjacent to the northern boundary of the Camp. One of the three proposed lodges had already been built at the time of the assessment and retrospective planning permission was sought for it. The report concluded that the impact of the existing and proposed structures on the immediate setting of the monument was negative/moderate.

The second report was of monitoring and recording undertaken prior to the construction of the two new lodges. Unfortunately some groundworks had already taken place at the time of monitoring; no archaeological features or deposits were discovered at the site.

7. Chittlehampton: St Hieritha’s Church

This is a record of a watching brief undertaken during works to install a toilet in the church tower and carry out drainage works to connect it to the water supply and main sewer. The trench showed no evidence of archaeological features, but the back-filled soil, interpreted as charnel soil, included several finds, the most significant of which were fragments of 15th to early 16th century floor tile of a period and type previously unknown at the church.

8. Chulmleigh: Beara Farm

This is another historic visual impact assessment related to a proposed wind turbine. Beara Farm lies to the north-east of the village of Chulmleigh and is a Grade 11 listed farmstead. There are a few other mediaeval farmsteads in the area and a scatter of pre-historic barrows, mainly on Horridge Down. The report follows the usual format, with a thorough examination of the potential impact on the heritage assets within the zone of visual influence (ZVI). The report gives a description of all these historic sites and would be valuable for that alone. It concludes that the overall impact of the wind turbine would be negative/minor to negative/moderate, with a more serious impact on Beara Farmhouse and the group of barrows on Horridge Moor.

9. Combe Martin: Ash Bank, Corner Lane

This is a report of the monitoring of excavations carried out prior to construction of a dwelling. The site lies within a relatively recently developed part of Combe martin. The excavation revealed re-deposited material, probably from nearby mine workings, but no archaeological features. Finds were mainly 19th and 20th century pottery sherds, which were not retained.

10. Fremington: Collacott Farm

This report describes a desk-based assessment and monitoring and recording of the construction of a single wind turbine. The wider area has a number of historic and archaeological features that suggested that the site had potential. The mediaeval field boundaries shown on the 1840 tithe map of the site area were all removed in the late 20th century. The only features discovered during excavation were ditches associated with these boundaries and the few finds consisted of sherds, mainly post-mediaeval and modern, and a single flint flake. There was not enough mediaeval or earlier material to suggest anything other than agricultural activity on the site.

11. Fremington: Collacott Solar Park

This is a report of a magnetic survey of four fields to the west of Collacott Farm. They identify a series of anomalies that are mainly interpreted as post-mediaeval field systems. One or two curvilinear anomalies are identified as of potential archaeological interest.

12. Fremington: Former Army Camp

This report into the archaeological trench evaluation and historic building survey was prompted by the imminent development of the former Army Camp for 277 houses and associated community facilities. This large site lies adjacent to the Parish Church which the report describes as “a minster church, possibly located on a much earlier ecclesiastical site including a church and manor house complex.” However the fields were apparently entirely in agricultural use before the American Army hospital was built during the Second World War. As a result the excavation yielded very few features, other than former field boundaries, and the finds included iron nails, post-mediaeval pottery and other ceramic-based material, glass, animal bone and 2 worked flints. As a result of the building survey the uniformity and distinctiveness of the Second World War buildings has been preserved through the record; two of them are to be retained and converted for community purposes in the development.

 13. Fremington: Sticklepath Primary School

This is an account of a test pit dug as an educational activity in the grounds of the Primary School. The school site lies within a field that was formerly part of the open field system associated with Bickington. A few finds were recovered, including a sherd of post-mediaeval gravel-tempered pottery, a sherd of an 18th century North Devon glazed jug, two clay pipe stems and a piece of clear glass. The finds were retained by the school.

14. Georgeham: Heddon Mill

Heddon Mill is probably a late 18th century water mill that was substantially rebuilt in the early 19th century. The mill was almost completely gutted of its waterwheel and machinery when it ceased working by the mid-20th century. Further alterations to the building have taken place since then.

15. Goodleigh: Trude Farm

This the report of a HVIA of a proposed single wind turbine on the Goodleigh Conservation Area, including the Grade II* St Gregory’s parish church and a group of nine Grade II listed buildings. It concludes that the presence of a new, modern and visually intrusive vertical element in the landscape would impinge in some way, primarily on views of the Conservation Area, and have a more pronounced impact on the Grade II* Listed church.

 16. Instow: St John’s Church

This report describes monitoring and recording that took place during the replacement of the floor of the south transept of the church. Below the previous 19th century wooden floor, the bones of 8 individuals were discovered in two groups, in a space between the rough stone walls of two adjacent graves.  The bones were disarticulated and appear to have been re-deposited in two groups in the space between two later graves; they were retained by the church for re-burial. No dateable finds were discovered.

17. Kingsnympton: Cawsey Meethe Mill

The owner of the Mill commissioned this historic building survey to record the historic fabric and working parts. The mill is sited on the flood plain of the Rivers Mole and Bray close to their junction. It appears to be 18th century in origin and is associated with Cawsey Meethe Farm nearby. The building comprises two sections, of different dates, joined by a roof that was added later, and contains the remnants of two undershot mill wheels either side of a central spillway, fed by a leat from the Mole. The mill appears to have been run as part of the farm, rather than as a separate enterprise, as further evidenced by its relatively small size. The report traces the history of the building, from written records and from the building survey evidence. It was only listed in 1988 and has featured in two surveys of mills in the area, in 1974 and 1994. It has deteriorated further since then. The mill is effectively two mills under one roof, the northern mill having been built first in the late 18th century and rebuilt in 1796 and the southern mill in the early 19th century. The mill appears to have been modernised in the mid-19th century, when the two mills were brought under one roof. It is considered to be an outstanding and remarkable survival of small traditional water-powered corn mill, in particular for its remaining timber waterwheels and machinery.

18. Landkey: Birch Road

This is the report of a desk-based assessment and geophysics survey of three fields to the north-east of Landkey Newland. Both the map regression and the survey indicate the presence of a post-mediaeval field system but little else that is likely to be of archaeological interest.

19. Marwood: Collacott Farm

Evaluation trenching was undertaken in the field immediately to the east of the farmhouse, since it was to be the site of an anaerobic digester. Collacott is first mentioned in the 14th century and there was considered to be archaeological potential at the site. In the event, the features revealed were all field drains or service trenches and there we no finds were fragments of land drains.

20. North Molton: Oakford Villas

A field on the west side of the village was evaluated with three 50m long trenches, before the development of light industrial units. Three standing stones are situated in a field to the west and North Molton was noted from at least Domesday Book as a centre for mining, principally for copper and lead, until the end of the 19th century. The excavation revealed linear features that were the remains of known field boundaries, consistent with the cartographic evidence of post-mediaeval enclosure of the open field system. Some field boundaries were then removed in the late 19th century. A small amount of mediaeval pottery sherds were recovered, indicating agricultural use of the site in the mediaeval period. The presence of slag associated with kiln furniture across the site indicates that the boundary ditches were still extant in the 19th century.

21. North Molton: Back Lane

This report summarises the ownership of land at North Molton and, in particular, of the field the subject of the investigation, which lies to the south-west of the parish church and Court House. Given the location of the site, subsequent regression mapping evidence and the features found in the excavation trenches, it is likely that the site was part of the open field system of the village, subsequently enclosed and possibly occupied by the garden plots of later cottages that have been demolished. Finds include mediaeval and post-pottery sherds and, significantly, iron slag and waste indicative of on-site iron working. This is regarded as significant confirmation of the long continuity of iron working in the village, which is recorded in Domesday Book and known from the 19th century.

22. South Molton: Great Hele Barton

Evaluation of a field immediately adjacent to Great Hele Barton was carried out following the results of a geophysical survey and prior to the submission of a planning application for an anaerobic digester. The area is known to have archaeological potential. The results of the trenches that were evaluated indicated two groups of features: field boundaries that were probably mediaeval and a rectangular enclosure that also appeared to be mediaeval in date. Finds were almost exclusively of pottery sherds of 12th to 14th century date, comprising North Devon coarseware. There was a single sherd of mediaeval Ham Green ware and a single struck flint.

23. South Molton: Pathfields Business Park

The desk-based assessment and archaeological evaluation of this site took place in advance of the extension of the existing Business Park in a northerly direction, up to the A361 North Devon Link Road. The former was a map regression based on 19th century maps. It revealed a series of former field boundaries dating, in one case from the mediaeval strip field system, with later field boundary revisions. The trench evaluation was designed to test this assessment. The evaluation confirmed the cartographic and aerial photographic evidence for field boundaries from the residual mediaeval strip field system through to the modern period, although little dating evidence was found. The earliest finds, of late mediaeval and 17th – 18th century sherds, were associated with the earliest of the curved mediaeval strip field boundaries that remained extant into the 19th century and was still visible on the 20th century aerial photograph.

 24. Tawstock: Hollamoor Farm

A desk-based assessment, walkover and historic visual impact assessment was made of three proposed wind turbines on a ridge north of Hollamoor Farm. The assessment recorded the long association of the farm with Tawstock Court and its owners (it remains in the ownership of the Wrey family). The archaeological potential of the site is low as the fields were taken in from open grazing in the mediaeval or post-mediaeval period. However the visual impact on heritage assets is considered to be negative/moderate in some cases, primarily due to its impact on the former Tawstock Park and village and, across the Taw, in and around Bishops Tawton, including Codden Hill, but also important historic sites on the riverfront in the centre of Barnstaple. This report is valuable in highlighting the lack of recognition of the 19th century Tawstock Park, which itself may include remains of the earlier park associated with the Elizabethan house which was replied by the current Tawstock Court.

25. West Down: Mullacott Cross (1)

A watching brief was carried out during test pits being dug for the foundations of new industrial units. No archaeological features, deposits or finds were present in the test pits.

26. West Down: Mullacott Cross (2)

A watching brief was carried out during test pits being done for the construction of a wind turbine. No archaeological features, deposits or finds were present.

27. Westleigh: Eastleigh Barton

This report presents the results of geophysical and walkover surveys and a historic visual impact assessment as part of a planning application for a single wind turbine. The surveys failed to reveal anything of archaeological interest, even though the filed lies within a suggested early-mediaeval enclosure. However the HVIA outlines the history of Eastleigh Barton and provides a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the proposed wind turbine on heritage assets in the vicinity. The overall impact was assessed as negative/moderate and the impact on Eastleigh Manor and its associated historic outbuildings was assessed as negative/substantial, expressing the view that the asset group at Eastleigh would be harshly impacted by the proposed turbine.


These 25 reports from 2014 (and 2 that were posted on the ADS website in 2015) are, in overall terms, rather disappointing in their findings. Very little archaeology was revealed in most of them, although the HVIA’s did at least provide opportunities for comprehensive assessments of heritage assets in each area where wind turbines were proposed. The most interesting and revealing reports were those on Cawsey Meethe Mill, a rare small double mill worthy of preservation, at Great Hele Barton, where further work on the potential mediaeval enclosure revealed by the excavation might be productive (if planning permission for the anaerobic digester is granted) and at North Molton where the history of iron working is indicated by two of the reports.

8th December 2015

Promoting awareness of the archaeology and history of North Devon

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