SMHS project: Clearing vegetation

01 Sep 2012

Clearing vegetation

The first part of our Cripp's Corner project was to remove the vegetation that was obscuring the dragon's teeth.

Over the years, the blocks had become covered with a thick carpet of ivy, brambles and nettles. Low-hanging tree branches were also obscuring the lines of concrete.

There are three distinct groups of dragon

Initially, the main object of the project was to uncover the arc of seven dragon's teeth.

This was duly done over two days by SMHS in September 2012, allowing other aspects of the overall project to proceed.

The overhanging tree branches were cut back and small trees and bushes among the blocks cut down. Fortunately, it was found that the ivy could be peeled off in matted sheets, instantly revealing the concrete underneath.

The comparison photograph at right shows the dramatic impact of the vegetation clearance.

An earth bank (built up after the war) has since been removed and the ground sown with grass seed to return this particular area back to its wartime appearance.

The second group of nine blocks were uncovered and cleared in 2014.

Clearing vegetation


Removing the vegetation revealed fascinating wartime evidence in the form of graffiti. Those responsible for constructing these blocks had etched and doodled in the wet concrete!

Some initials and other markings were identified on the arc of blocks, but perhaps the best find was on a block near the vineyard buildings.

Clearing vegetation

This block had had some mortar rendering applied, into which a bird (believed to be a robin) had been inscribed.

During our excavation work, robins were frequently to be found looking for worms in the spoil heaps and the builders in 1940 evidently had a similar experience!

Photograph gallery

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