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Coastal Battery South Inch

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Holdfasts on concrete platform, 2010, Fox
Holdfasts on concrete platform

A coastal battery was located at South Inch during World War II. The site lies west of the A78 Ardrossan Road, about one kilometre south of West Kilbride and Seamill.

The battery was reported to be visible in aerial photographs taken by the RAF in 1947, when a group of huts and an unidentified tall structure were also noted on the site.

While there are no remains of the structures, concrete bases have been reported on the site, together with evidence of holdfasts which have been described as suitable for Unrotating Projectile (UP) launchers, as would have been used in Z-Batteries.

Part of the area has been occupied by a caravan site, which is adjacent to a public house and restaurant next to the road.

Site visit

Concrete platform with holdfasts, 2010, Fox
Concrete platform with holdfasts

A site visit was carried out during 2010, when the report of the battery site was confirmed.

Three holdfasts were found together, mounted in line, on a slightly raised concrete platform. Each holdfast had 20 fixing studs arranged in a pitch circle of about three feet in a diameter. The outer two holdfasts were re fitted with heavy, circular, steel reinforcing plates, slightly larger in diameter than the circle of mounting studs. The centre holdfast has the studs rising straight from the concrete base. The Scape Trust Coastal Survey of 2002 described all three holdfasts as having steel reinforcing plates.

Further areas of concrete lie in the ground nearby, together with a large concrete block, however the purpose of these items is unclear.

In the field to the north of the caravan site are the remains of a wide brick pillar, which may have supported a water tank.

A number of concrete bases could be seen in the ground adjacent to the brick pillar, and these were probably served as hut bases.

Follow-up visit

A second visit was made to the site during March 2010.

The concrete platform carrying the holdfasts was measured at 33.5 ft x 12 ft. Erosion of the structure suggests that the section containing the central holdfast comprises approximately 2 feet of rough concrete, while the two end holdfasts appear to be mounted in smaller diameter circular masses of the same concrete. The platform appears to be covered with a 6 inch screed of better quality concrete. The circular ring of mounting studs on the holdfasts was measured at 45 inches centre to centre across the diameter, with each stud having a dimple in its top. The studs mounted in the centre holdfast were noted to have smaller dimples than those of the outer pair.

A closer examination was carried out of the concrete bases previously noted, in the adjacent field. A large area of rough tarmac was found inside the gate at the northwest end of the field. A large milling or grinding stone was found at the corner of the internal fence line. Three concrete bases were found in the ground adjacent to the caravan site, and the exposed edge of one base suggested that it had supported a wooden hut.

The pillar noted in the first report was found to be a small right-angled baffle wall, with no obvious indication as to purpose.

The hut bases were found to comprise broken sections of concrete approximately 2 feet thick, containing numerous sets of mounting studs in groups of four, set on on 13-inch centres, and arranged on an overall grid of approximately 10 feet between groups. This appears to suggest the presence of a steel framed building which would have covered an area of approximately 40 ft x 50 ft. Within this area was further evidence of a set of brick walls which would have enclosed an area of approximately 21 ft x 7 ft.

No further evidence of huts or buildings was found in this field, or within a smaller field adjacent to the nearby road.

Local information

Local accounts have been offered with regard to wartime activities in the area, and refer to the Home Guard firing rockets into the sea off the Ayrshire coast (see the BBC's People's War site). The site may therefore not have a coastal battery as such, but a training area (or even test area) for personnel being posted to rocket or Z-Batteries.

See also the information provided regarding Spigot Mortar Range Green Hill.

External links

Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-

 

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