Spigot Mortar Range Green Hill
Green Hill, on the northeast side of the moor road which connects the A78 at Hunterston with Dalry to the east, is the site of a World War II spigot mortar range. The range was visible on RAF aerial photographs taken in 1945, and the bases are depicted as pillars on OS mapping.
The purpose of this range is unknown, however the fact that it was located within the area of a disused quarry, and in the vicinity of a number of assorted buildings - as indicated by their concrete bases which still survive in the ground - may be significant. Although they could have been sandbagged, it is notable that none of the spigot mortar bases show any evidence of surrounding defilades, or were entrenched to protect the crews from enemy action. Based on local accounts, it is possible that this was a proving range, rather than a defensive installation, and was used to test spigot mortar shells, and other projectiles. Five bases are located in the area, four of which are conventional (octagonal) pillars set on concrete bases that are 3 feet 6 inches across, and have the metal spigot mounted at their centre. The fifth base is much wider and taller, with no spigot mounted. This large cylinder is 7 feet 6 inches in diameter and stands 4 feet high. It could have had served as some form of holdfast or mounting for equipment under test, such as a rocket launcher, and has a ring of eight fixing bolts extending from its upper circumference, each with a small steel plate alongside, one of which, to the west of the base, is narrower then the rest. A number of steel steps cast into the side of this structure, giving access to its upper surface which has a hollow within the ring of bolts. There is clear evidence of a path nearby, including a bridge over a ditch joining the eastern bases to the quarry.
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 range may also have been used after the war, to test rocket propelled devices, which may be consistent with the proximity of the range to the former Nobel Explosive Factory at Ardeer, to the south. This may also account for the existence of the larger concrete base on the site.
See also the information provided regarding the Coastal Battery South Inch, to the south and west.
Mortar base positions are precise, and derived from survey references:
Building base positions are not precise, and based on visual estimates only:
- Building Base A
- Building Base B
- Building Base C
- Building Base D
- Building Base E Large
- Building Base F
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