Help us investigate what lies beneath Castle Green

Castle Mound and Castle Green, Barnstaple

Posted on: 7 March 2017

Are you interested in history? Do you want to help investigate what lies beneath of one of Barnstaple’s most historic sites?

This week, North Devon Council is carrying out a geophysical survey of Castle Green, following a successful bid for funding from Historic England. The council is looking for volunteers interested in taking part in the survey, which will take place on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 March.

Castle Green is the site of a Norman motte and bailey castle dating back to the early 12th century. The castle was situated on top of the mound with a moat surrounding it. The geophysical survey will concentrate on the area of the bailey and top of the mound, which was a fortified enclosure where the occupants lived. This is thought to have been on Castle Green and could also lie beneath part of Cattle Market car park.

Excavations and survey work carried out on the site in the 70s and 80s also revealed the presence of 105 graves forming part of a Saxon cemetery which may date back to about 900AD.

A mansion, known as Castle House, was built on the green in the 19th century. A spiral path up the mound was also created in this period. The mansion was demolished in 1976 but the foundations can still be seen on aerial photographs.

Executive Member for parks leisure and culture, Councillor Brian Moores, says: “I’m really pleased Historic England is funding this work, it sounds like a really fascinating project. Geophysical surveys haven’t been carried out on this site for years, and since then the equipment has advanced a great deal so we’re hoping for some really interesting results. Get in touch if you’d like to get involved.”

Heritage at risk project officer for Historic England, Charlotte Russell, says: “We are happy to continue to support North Devon Council to further understand and appreciate the castle which is a very significant historic structure that played a central part in the development of the town.”

Volunteer spaces will be limited, contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388251 or email for more information or to book a space.

From 14-16 March, a ground penetrating radar will also be used to survey Cattle Market car park. Areas of the car park will be sectioned off from 7am on these days, with efforts being made to make the spaces available as quickly as possible to keep disruption to a minimum. Volunteers are not needed for the radar work.

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Posted in: Leisure