Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

Butter Brook Rifle Range Survey

Steve Grigg & Frank Collinson

An article by Dave Brewer in the Dartmoor Magazine from Winter 1996 provides an excellent summary of the Butter Brook rifle range which was only used for a short period, from April to July 1861.

The range comprises 4 alleys with 4 sets of butts with 4 Observation Posts. Each of these 4 alleys had two “lanes” with range markers up to 900 yds away at 50 yd intervals.

The original Dave Brewer sketch from the Dartmoor Magazine is shown below. At that time only 87 markers had been located. Subsequently 102 markers have been located.

Butter Brook Rifle 1

This drawing is based on the original Dave Brewer drawing in the DM but has been amended to show the approx. location of all the 102 markers. This is not to scale. Apparently, the military were only given landowner permission for a range within Ugborough Parish.

Butter Brook Rifle 2

Google Earth picture showing the 4 Butts and 4 OPs. There were over 500 troops stationed here in 1861 in 50 tents. Dave Brewer’s article mentions different regiments being assigned different butts

Butter Brook Rifle 3
Butter Brook Rifle 4
GPS Plot of the search area

Alley A

Dave Brewer mentions Alley 1 (which it is assumed meant Alley A) was used by the 2nd & 12th regiments.

Observation Post 

Butter Brook Rifle 5

Butt

Butter Brook Rifle 6

Range markers Alley A (1). There are 10 markers from 100 through 600 with 500 missing (where the tramway is)

Butter Brook Rifle 7

Range markers Alley A (2). There are 16 markers from 150 through 900 with 100 missing

Butter Brook Rifle 8

Interestingly, around the 700 to 800 yard mark on Alley A, you can’t see the butts. However, the are several raised platforms.

Were these used to elevate the rifleman, so he could see the butts ?

Butter Brook Rifle 9
Butter Brook Rifle 10

Alley B

Dave Brewer mentions Alley 2 (which it is assumed meant Alley B) was used by the 53rd regiment.

Observation Post

Butter Brook Rifle 11

Butt

Butter Brook Rifle 12

Range markers Alley B (1). There are 10 markers from 100 through 600 with 500 missing (where the tramway is). Note the the 4 of the 400 and 450 are engraved backwards.

Butter Brook Rifle 13

Range markers Alley B (2). There are 17 markers from 100 through 900.

Butter Brook Rifle 14

Alley C

Dave Brewer mentions Alley 3 (which is assumed meant Alley C) was used by the 61st regiment.

Observation Post

Butter Brook Rifle 15

Butt

Butter Brook Rifle 16

Range markers Alley C (1). There are 7 markers from 100 through 400.

Butter Brook Rifle 17

Range markers Alley C (2). There are 17 markers from 100 through 900. Note the 250 marker has engraving on side of marker, which made this one difficult to find.

Butter Brook Rifle 18

Alley D

Dave Brewer mentions Alley 4 (which I assume he also meant Alley D) was used by the Royal Marines.

Observation Post

Butter Brook Rifle 19

Butt

Butter Brook Rifle 20

Range markers Alley D (1). There are 10 markers from 100 through 550. The 550 marker has engraving on its side

Butter Brook Rifle 21

Range markers Alley D (2). There are 15 markers from 150 through 900, with 750 missing (this just south of tramway)

Butter Brook Rifle 22

850 marker on Alley D (2) close to Hangershell Rock

Butter Brook Rifle 23

900 marker on Alley D (2) close to Hangershell rock

Butter Brook Rifle 24

Next Post

Previous Post

Leave a Reply

© 2020 Dartmoor Explorations

Theme by Anders Norén