MINEHEAD’S NORTH HILL ON THE RADAR

A convoy of military vehicles will depart from Minehead this Saturday (8 September) at 10.30am en route to the Second World War tank training grounds and Radar Station on North Hill, as part of a celebration of wartime heritage hosted by Exmoor National Park and the National Trust for Heritage Open Days.

During the war, North Hill was closed to civilians and brought under military control. It became one of country’s five new tank training ranges for British, American and Canadian troops. Tucked down the coastal slopes lay a top-secret Radar Station, one of 244 across the country and part of a coastal defensive chain to identify shipping and low-flying aircraft. The stations were ‘manned’ 24 hours a day and operators at Radar Stations were often women from the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

The top-secret radar stations were often stationed by women (photo sourced by Gwen Arnold).

The convoy will parade along Minehead seafront via Blenheim Gardens, before heading to North Hill where spectators can discover more about this incredible time through displays at the Radar Station and guided walks of the training grounds across to Bossington Hill. There will also be a chance to learn about the earlier archaeological landscape, from the Iron Age settlement at Bury Castle to the ruined medieval Burgundy Chapel.

The event is suitable for all ages and free to attend, but donations are welcome to CareMoor for Exmoor, which fundraises towards the upkeep of the National Park.

Shirley Blaylock, Historic Environment Conservation Officer at Exmoor National Park, said: “This is a fantastic chance for people to discover a slice of history from the National Park that is often overlooked. North Hill was an important military complex during the Second World War and it’s great to be able to bring to life the role that it played in maintaining national security at this critical time.”

For more information about the event visit: www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/castles-in-the-sky-the-wwii-radar-station-on-north-hill