View Full Version : Maiden Newton to Poole Harbour Stopline, Dorset first look October 2010

03-11-2010, 07:50 PM
There's a fair bit to this so I've divided it up into smaller chunks.

Info from the PSG website: http://www.pillbox-study-group.org.uk/maidennewtonstoplinepage.htm

Down in the deepest, darkest depths of Dorset the remains of hundreds of Second
World War structures still lay littered around the countryside. The county of
Dorset, with its extensive coastline, natural harbours and relative proximity to
the shores of northern France made it a primary invasion target. To that end
many of the Defence structures were positioned, quite naturally, along the
coastline and many are still to be found in the well documented areas of Chesil
Beach, Portland and Studland Bay.
But what of the Inland Defence ? After extensive research of the local 1:2500
scale maps and numerous site visits to the Maiden Newton area I concluded that
there was infact a Stop-Line approximately 15km inland from Chesil Beach. The
following structures were found and reported to the Defence of Britain Project:

Maiden Newton itself is a small village situated at the confluence of two river
valleys, the Dorchester to Yeovil Railway Line and the A356 road from Dorchester
to Crewkerne. A pretty important position ! Not unusual in itself but the
extensive defensive structures found around its perimeter suggest that it was an
Anti-Tank Island. More than one hundred anti-tank blocks, a Nissen hut,
Ammunition stores and even a Spiggot Mortar base complete with stainless steel
mounting pin remain.
The Stop-line itself uses the man made railway line from Maiden Newton to the
village of Grimstone, 5km southeastwards towards Dorchester. The numerous
Pillboxes of Type22/23 design are positioned to use the embankment to the best
possible topographical advantage. Almost each has commanding views across the
river valley southwards and of course towards the Sea. Any advancing armour and
troops would have had the difficulty of fording the river before an attempt at
scaling the embankment could begin.


Getting to PBs is harder than some people realize. There are 6 on this stretch and although Ive been planning this for a while I only managed to get a Type 22 and the removed AT obstacle at the bridge on the first visit. I spent more time reccying approaches than I intended to and had to cut short the trek after falling foul of the whiplash injury I got in a minor prang a week prior to this explore. Im not normally faint-hearted when it comes to PB hunts but several of my access routes were impassable or downright dangerous (even fully fit) on your own.

S0000066 Type 22


Shows serious deterioration outside but this is misleading as its only the entrance wall suffering badly



inside isnt too bad but is flooded;


And it has the unfaced corner bricks Ive seen before. I think this was done simply to save time building the PB.


The site of the removed AT obstacles S0000049. I now think there were 2 hairpins here.




03-11-2010, 07:56 PM
Next up and just to the north, S0000075. Type 22 variant PB, protruding corner bricks and entrance porch, overgrown outside and clean inside but inaccessible at present. My thanks to Richard Read, the unofficial custodian, for giving me access and who now may clear the vegetation and unblock the entrance for us, top bloke.





Realising my obvious interest in things military, Richard was keen to show off his collection of converted ex-Army Scammel recovery vehicles. Hes adapted them for civilian use but a lot of the original parts are re-used particularly the primary winch gear hidden away in the chassis and the cable haul on this one.



Moving south east from this point along the railway line to S0000074. This is given as Type 23 on the DoB which it isnt. Its a Type 26 variant with porch. These are uncommon, apparently only 199 are recorded as extant. This one is in good nick.







03-11-2010, 08:00 PM
Again moving south east, another Type 26 variant. Inaccessible but in general good order under the mass of vegetation. Thanks to the owner of Crockway Farm for both access and assistance in finding the site. Another really accommodating landowner.


Crossing under the line to reach the PB




Followed by this half destroyed Type 22. S0000073






Thanks for looking. Plenty more to come over time :smile