Taunton Stopline – Chard Joint to Peasmarsh – September 2010
All quoted text is from the Somerset Historic Enviroment Record. The main HER site is at
Thanks to Krela (you know why) and cptpies (so do you).
Info and History
“A World War 2 anti-invasion stop line, facing west, built between July and November 1940.
The stop line runs for approximately 50 miles from the mouth of River Brue to the mouth of the River Axe in Devon (with some infrastructure in Dorset). Some rear positions were prepared to the E of line. It connected to the ‘GHQ Line Green’ running East along River Brue.
The line followed the River Parrett to Bridgwater where it joined the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal. From Creech St Michael it followed the old Chard Canal until SW of Ilton where it joined the Great Western Railway. The line left the GWR to the north of Chard Junction from where it followed the Southern Railway and River Axe running south into Devon.
The planned infrastructure (most of which was built) included 233 pillboxes, 61 medium machine gun emplacements, 21 anti-tank gun emplacements, 83 road blocks, 22 railway blocks and 46 demolitions.
The anti-tank obstacle consisted of about 24 miles of waterways, 7 miles of improved water obstacles, 11 miles of anti-tank ditches and 8 miles of artificial obstacles (eg cubes).
From autumn 1940, twelve locations were prepared for all-round defence as ‘anti-tank islands’ of which 9 were in Somerset - Bridgwater, Durston, Creech St Michael, Wrantage and Crimson Hill, Ilton, Ilminster, Chard, Forton and Perry Street.”
I’ve split this into 3 sections, Chard Joint railway station, Chard Reservoir north to Knowle St Giles and Knowle St Giles to Peasmarsh.
Chard Joint Railway Station
Chard Joint had defences forming the NW corner of the Chard Anti-Tank Island as well as being part of the Taunton Stopline proper. If you look on cptpies GE overlay you can see how they converged with the AT island around Chard. The labels given in my GE map shots are the original 1940 Stopline/ATI serial numbers for each site. I haven’t visited all of them yet so updates will follow.
The Anti Tank wall at the southern end of the goods yard on the west side of the trackbed (included in a previous report and shown for context).
A concrete base or platform approx 20 feet x 15 feet is apparent although partially buried by landscaping. Of unknown origin but probably connected to Stopline or AT island as it's immediately adjacent to the old route of the trackbed.
The station building
Pillbox M 66 – Type 24 - LMG emplacement
Pillbox M 65 (Type unknown) and AT cubes
The cubes are there but I couldn’t find the PB which is annoying as it’s described as a rectangular LMG emplacement on the original records. Will be taking another look.
From North of Chard Reservoir to Knowle St Giles (TSL)
Pillbox M 20 – Type 24 – LMG Emplacement
It’s buried in here
There was also a roadblock (M RD 39) at this location.
Rail Block M RL 17
AT Posts and Cubes
These run every 3 feet on the west side of the trackbed from just after M RL 17 to just before MAT 609 at the bridge.
Pillbox MAT 609 – drg. no. LT 55 – Gun Emplacement
This was lying nearby
Pillbox M 19 – Type 24 – LMG Emplacement
Originally disguised as a chicken hut. Pretty good description for a pillbox.
Knowle St Giles to Peasmarsh
Railblock M RL 16
Pillbox M 63 – Type 24 – LMG Emplacement
Definitely there but totally overgrown and only accessible from inside the Sewage works compound. Will come back to it.
As you can see from the GE map shots, I haven’t got to everything on this section yet but I will. Hope you enjoyed what I was able to photograph. Thanks for looking.
A diplomat is someone who can tell you to 'sod off' in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen
Last edited by Munchh; 15th Sep 10 at 21:18. Reason: response links added