Brandy Head is a promontory about 1½ miles SSE of Otterton.
In 1940 the RAF opened a gunnery research range here for ground attack fighters. An observation post was built on Brandy Head with blast walls at the rear and a viewing balcony looking seaward. Targets were floated offshore and aircraft such as Typhoons, Hurricanes and Spitfires from 10 Group RAF would fly from Exeter to test turret mounted guns, wing-mounted cannons and later rockets by flying over the observation post to attack the targets anchored at sea.
The utilitarian observation post still stands as a shell, having lost its roof, alongside the Coastal Path only yards from the cliff edge. It is often used by walkers as a place for a coffee break.
The new tenant farmer at Stantyways Farm has recently submitted a planning application 19/0883 to convert the observation post to holiday accommodation.
This raises an interesting debate: is this an example of imaginative re-purposing of a derelict land mark which will ensure its future; should the observation post be left alone to stand as a simple epitaph; or is it the start of a new camping site to rival Ladram Bay and Devon Cliffs on either side?
Owl has noted this passage from the Design and Access Statement supporting the application:
“Clinton Devon Estates have offered Mr and Mrs Walker their support and have stated:
“Clinton Devon Estates recently let Stantyway Farm to Mr and Mrs Walker, we are encouraged by their plans to farm organically and sustainably. Their tender included a wish to convert the lookout into visitor accommodation to make the most of the South West Coast path tourism and we support this diversification and use of the redundant building.
It is essential that the eco-sustainability side is expressed and access is by foot.”
Owl personally just wouldn’t perch overnight that close to the cliff edge!
Perhaps it also needs Listed Building or Heritage Building status?