Record Details

NHER Number:38418
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of probable complex of World War One practice trenches


A large network of probable World War One practice trenches on Kelling Heath are visible on RAF aerial photographs.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 10433 41353
Map Sheet:TG14SW

Full description

January 2004. Norfolk NMP.
A massive group of probable World War One practice trenches on Kelling Heath and visible on RAF aerial photographs from 1946 (S1) and 1950 (S2). There are several components to this site, although all appear to form one system, centred on TG 1049 4132. The morphology of these trenches would indicate that these systems of trenches are World War One in date, despite being surrounded by dense World War Two training activities. The heath was also used extensively during World War One for training and rifle practice. These lines would have been constructed to act as various firing and front lines, linked with service and storage areas by communications trenches.
Centred on TG 1029 4115 is an area of interconnecting trenches. These consist of two main crenellated trenches running from TG 1039 4101 to TG 1007 4115 and from TG 1008 4119 to TG 1037 4118. Several zigzag and straight communications trenches link these main linears. Two further crenellated trenches have been constructed to the east, running from TG 1046 4112 to TG 1050 4116 and from TG 1059 4113 to TG 1047 4100, these also have associated communication trenches.
Another area of trenches is centred on TG 1055 4122, this consists of several shorter sections of crenellated trench. The earthworks are not as clear in places so it is possible that these interrupted sections of trench were once more continuous. The clearest section runs from TG 1046 4126 to TG 1059 4124. This has large projecting bastion loops facing to the south. To the west of this group of trenches are two more isolated fieldworks, which have a much broader appearance, although judging by their state of infill they are presumably also World War One in date. These consist of a 2-3m 'w-shaped' trench running from TG 1036 4124 to TG 1040 4125, to the north of this is a similar width zigzag trench from TG 1038 4128 to TG 1038 4125.
An approximately 460m long section of straight and crenellated trench (TG 1046 4125 to TG 1065 4167) links this main area of trenches with another area to the north east centred on TG 1066 4158. The main component of this being a curvilinear stretch of crenellations running from TG 1063 4163 to TG 1072 4156.
Some areas of these trenches have been ploughed by 1969 (S3), although some of them can still be seen as earthworks at this date and hopefully will still survive as low earthworks at present within the areas that are still heathland.
S. Massey (NMP), 9 January 2004.

Monument Types

  • PRACTICE TRENCH (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • SLIT TRENCH (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • TRENCH (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1571 4169-70 07-JUN-1946 (Norfolk SMR TG 0940B, TG 1040A).
<S2>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1950. RAF 541/432 3036 17-FEB-1950 (NMR).

Related records - none

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