In 2012 15 sites were examined in 13 parishes.  A total of 3 commercial organisations were involved, with South West Archaeology producing 11 reports, AC Archaeology producing 3 reports and Thames Valley Archaeological Services 1 report.  Unlike other years only two of the proposed developments were for wind turbines, but one of them was for the major Fullabrook wind farm site.


1. Atherington: Crossways, Langridge Cross

This report contains a desk-based assessment and recording of excavation associated with a proposed manege (horse-riding facility) and access track. The assessment revealed a late- eighteenth century dwelling had been built on the site but this had been removed a century later. The excavation revealed walls associated with this dwelling and later uses, with mainly nineteenth century ceramic material amongst the finds.

2. Bittadon: The Old Rectory

This report on the monitoring of excavations for the construction of a small wind turbine, revealed only a pair of ditches likely to have been associated with a former field boundary shown on the 1840 Tithe map. A single find of a sherd of 17th century slipware suggests that the field boundary was constructed then as part of the enclosure of open fields.

3. Braunton: 18 South Street

This report records the monitoring of the stripping of topsoil prior to residential development in the historic core of Braunton. Two evaluation trenches were also excavated and recorded. Given the location of the site little evidence of mediaeval origin was discovered. Finds were mainly white refined earthenwares that were dated as post-1720 and North Devon gravel-tempered post-mediaeval wares. There was a single sherd of North Devon mediaeval coarseware.

4. Braunton: River Caen flood defence improvements

A watching brief was carried out at two locations where flood defences were being improved: at Hordens Bridge and in the area of the Memorial Gardens and the Bowling Green. No archaeological features were exposed or significant artefacts recovered during the groundworks.

5. Brayford: Deerpark Farm, Charles

This report sets out the results of monitoring excavations preparatory to the construction of a stable and fodder store. Within the context of known Romano-British iron working in the vicinity and a long and well-documented history, several features were discovered that suggest the presence of a mediaeval farmstead in the near vicinity of the site. Finds reinforce this, consisting of a fairly large assemblage of North Devon mediaeval coarseware. Deposits of iron slag could have been fill from elsewhere or from activity on site.

6. Brayford: Town Barton Barn, Charles

Another investigation at a site of a proposed stable block and access track close to Charles revealed no archaeological features or artefacts, disappointingly bearing in mind the rich historical and archaeological context.

7. Combe Martin: Roman Catholic Church site, Castle Street

This report into the monitoring of groundworks preparatory to construction of a single dwelling, and subsequent to the demolition of the church, revealed only garden walls and fill from former mine workings. Finds comprised post-mediaeval North Devon coarseware and 19th century industrial pottery.

8. East Worlington: East Worlington House

This is a substantial report setting out the results of a desk-based study, historic building survey and archaeological monitoring carried out between 2007 and 2009 at the instigation of the current owners. The study provides a comprehensive summary of the history of East Worlington, the ownership of the manor and the development of the house, which appears to have been associated with the parish church for much of its history, and to have provided the parsonage and rectory into the twentieth century. The survey identifies seven phases of construction, from the original single-cell chamber block building dating from 1470, through its extension into a hall and cross-passage house, with a first floor chamber, for much of the sixteenth century and on through successive extensions, often associated with changes of ownership and occupation. Monitoring of works carried out by the owner added detail to some of this history in some parts of the building.

9. King’s Nympton: St James’ Parish Church

This is a brief report of the monitoring of repair works in the north transept and of the excavation of a service trench outside the church. There were no finds from within the church. A few finds were recovered from the service trench, mainly ceramic sherds.

10. Lynton & Lynmouth: Lynmouth Pavilion

This is a survey of the Lynmouth Pavilion on the Esplanade at Lynmouth, prior to its demolition and replacement with a purpose-built visitor centre. The two-storey building was constructed in 1932 as a multi-use building, including a theatre on the first floor. This use had ceased by the end of the 1950’s and it was in use as a visitor centre for the next 50 years, until it became too dangerous to use. It was constructed in a late 19th century cottage style, albeit using full steel trusses for the roof. It adjoined the 18th century Grade II listed limekilns and 19th century cliff railway terminus and lay within a Conservation Area. It is owned by Exmoor National Park Authority, which commissioned the survey.

11. Marwood and Braunton: Fullabrook Wind Farm

At the time of its construction, Fullabrook Wind Farm was the largest onshore wind farm in England. This report records the results of archaeological investigations carried out at the time of its construction. The work was commissioned in fulfilment of conditions on the planning permissions. Prior to the original permission for the wind farm the scheme was subject to an initial desk-based assessment carried out by Exeter Archaeology in 2004/5. That assessment had established that there had been little archaeological work undertaken in the area, but that there was potential for unrecorded buried archaeological remains, most likely comprising prehistoric settlement, funerary or agricultural features.

The work carried out subsequently, at the time of construction, comprised geophysical survey, monitoring of geotechnical test pits, trench evaluation, hedgebank recording and sample excavations. The majority of the archaeological investigations were either negative or exposed ditches that were likely to have been agricultural boundaries or drainage ditches that were of post-mediaeval or modern origin. Fullabrook Down and the surrounding ridges tended to have been open downland until relatively late enclosure took place.

Two areas, however, revealed prehistoric activity, comprising the remains of a round barrow and cremation pits that were considered to date from the Bronze Age and a possible prehistoric enclosure revealed by the partial excavation of ditches. Both of these sites were located in the centre of the wind farm where Fullabrook meets Halsinger Down at a height of 140 to 150 m. two undiagnostic flints were found in association with these features. The report concludes that the absence of further evidence of burial activity may well indicate that the barrow is an isolated feature. It points out that this is not uncommon in this part of North Devon, although a number of barrow cemeteries are also known, including those at Centery Down and Berry Down, to the north east of Fullabrook Down.

12. North Molton: Lower Poole Farm

This is an account of historic building recording and monitoring prior to and during the demolition of three agricultural buildings in the yard of Lower Poole Farm, to allow the widening of the road to the west. The recording revealed that the buildings were of no great antiquity and of little merit, being much altered. The earliest building could have dated to the end of the 18th century but showed little evidence of previous domestic use.

13. Rose Ash: Hilroy, near Great Ash Moor

Archaeological evaluation was undertaken at a site of a proposed extension to an agricultural building, in an area of archaeological potential. Several evaluation trenches were opened but no features were discovered and no finds recovered.

14. South Molton: Kingdon’s Yard, North Street

Kingdon’s Yard lies on the north side of North Street and is to be redeveloped for housing. This report details a desk-based assessment and inspection of the site. Occupying the southern part of a late to post-mediaeval formed from the enclosure of mediaeval arable strips, the site lies north of a possible ancient routeway which served as the back lane to the burgage plots of the mediaeval borough. The builders’ yard was established after WWII and has been levelled and terraced, so that only a narrow central section is likely to yield evidence of the original use of the site, when the intended development takes place.

15. Tawstock: land adjacent to Brannam’s Business Park

This is a report of a desk-based appraisal and evaluation of a site for residential development. The Devon Historic Environment Record showed a circular cropmark on a 1946 RAF aerial photo of the site, suggesting a prehistoric enclosure. No traces of the cropmark were found during the evaluation and it is suspected to be a drying mark on the photo negative! No archaeological features were observed. Finds included a substantial amount of late mediaeval and post-mediaeval ceramics, suggesting the presence of a mediaeval settlement nearby.


Of the 15 reports, only 3 revealed anything of note. The first of these is Deerpark Farm, Charles which added to the understanding of the development of Charles. The other two, East Worlington House and Fullabrook Wind Farm, demonstrate the contrast between research commissioned by an owner motivated to discover the history of a house, yielding a thorough and well-researched account of the house in its settlement, religious and manorial context, and work carried out in fulfilment of a condition on a planning permission, where the outcome is a tantalising glimpse of possibilities, rather than a fully researched landscape.

Fullabrook wind farm was granted planning permission on appeal by the Secretary of State. The written scheme of investigation required the monitoring of the localised impact of excavations carried out in respect of construction works, rather than taking a more comprehensive view of the historic landscape. The good news is that the research revealed the presence of a previously unknown prehistoric enclosure and Bronze Age Barrow. Whilst the ridge to the north of Fullabrook Down is known for its barrows and funerary monuments, Fullabrook, a secondary ridge, running in a south-westerly direction towards Braunton, is not. The terms of the permission did not provide for full evaluation of these features, which might have led to an even greater understanding of prehistoric settlement in the area.



Grid Reference

Report Producer

Type of Report

Nature of Development


Crossways, Langridge Cross

5773 2260


DBA, monitoring & recording

Construction of manege and access track


The Old Rectory

5427 4235


Monitoring & recording

Erection of wind turbine


18 South Street

4874 3649


Monitoring and evaluation trenching

Residential development


River Caen

4879 3686 & 4860 3640

AC Archaeology

Watching brief

Flood defence improvement works


Deerpark Farm, Charles

6850 3280


Monitoring & recording

Construction of stable and fodder store


Town Barton Farm, Charles

6886 3290

Thames Valley Archaeological Services

Watching brief

Construction of agricultural buildings/stab le

Combe Martin

Roman Catholic Church site, Castle Street

5887 4618


Monitoring & recording

Demolition of church and construction of house and garage

East Worlington

East Worlington House

7749 1361


DBA, HBR and evaluation

Extension & alterations

King’s Nympton

St James’ Parish Church

6822 1946



Repair works in north transept and service trenching

Lynton & Lynmouth

Lynmouth Pavilion

7220 4960

AC Archaeology


Demolition of building

Marwood and Braunton

Fullabrook Down

Centred on 5261 3963

AC Archaeology

Evaluation, watching brief and recording

Erection of 22 wind turbines, construction of access tracks and sub-station

North Molton

Lower Poole Farm

7359 2961


HBR, monitoring & recording

Demolition of farm buildings

Rose Ash


8050 1980



Extension to agricultural building

South Molton

Kingdon’s Yard, North Street

7152 2603


DBA and site inspection

Residential development


Land adj. Brannams Business Park

5426 3150


DBA & evaluation

Residential development


Table 1 sets out the reports filed with ADS relating to 2012.  The reports are then discussed in a little more detail, in alphabetical order of parish.   A brief synthesis of the findings of 2012 completes the document.

Table 1: Summary of reports for 2012

Promoting awareness of the archaeology and history of North Devon

Copyright © 2015 North Devon Archaeological Society