South Devon Coastal Heritage Project

Project
A storm coming in over Bolberry Down

The National Trust in South Devon is part of a heritage landscape partnership project with the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is being funded by Natural England and Historic England. Funding was secured to survey the many Scheduled Ancient Monuments in certain parts of the South Devon coastline, particularly through the Bolt Head to Bolt Tail area. This was to assess their condition, and to find out more about the structures that remain hidden in the landscape, the work also recommended actions to ensure their protection for the future.

The remains of the Iron Age fort of Bolt Tail are clearly visible on the headland, and can be seen from the coastpath
The remains of the Iron Age fort of Bolt Tail are clearly visible on the headland, and can be seen from the coastpath
The remains of the Iron Age fort of Bolt Tail are clearly visible on the headland, and can be seen from the coastpath

We are now into the second phase of this project, having secured three further years of funding, where we will be carrying out further archaeological investigations, working to clear the SAM’s of unwanted vegetation and also to interpret the sites so visitors can understand and appreciate these features. This has mainly been funded through Historic England, alongside other contributions from the South West Coast Path Association, National Trust South Hams Supporters Centre, South Devon AONB, the National Trust and Natural England.

One of the first pieces of work to do this year is make a series of test pit digs on the Lithic Scatter at Bolberry Down, which is just below the main Trust car park. Overseen by Historic England archaeologists, we are looking for volunteers to assist them. Volunteers will be trained up in excavating and recording finds over three days from Thursday 12th May to Saturday 14th May (you don’t have to commit to each day, just one is fine!). On the Saturday afternoon there will be a show and tell session with the archaeologists so visitors can pop along and find out about the dig, what has been discovered and what the plans are for further excavations later in the year on Bolt Tail Iron Age Promontory Fort.

'These digs are really an exciting opportunity, its very unusual to be permitted to undertake excavations – so it will be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the landscape of previous generations, unearthing worked flints and potentially discovering other features under the turf.' Emma Reece, Area Ranger

If you are interested in being involved, please contact Emma Reece on emma.reece@nationaltrust.org.uk