Children’s author fights plan for holiday homes on ancient Devon battlefield

The new holiday home development would include a swimming pool and reception area.
The land has been used as a caravan park for more than 20 years and is licensed to have 60 touring caravans, 10 static caravans and an unspecified number of tents.

According to architects David Wilson Partnership: “The supply of 60 holiday homes will ease the pressure on open-market properties that may be purchased as second homes or holiday homes, particularly in Appledore, Northam and Westward Ho!.

“The other benefit is that the holiday accommodation is more likely than caravans to be used all year round, to the benefit of the local economy.”


Appledore and Northam residents taking a walking tour of the area.According to Nick the battle resulted in the death of 3,000 people, not just locals, but people from Ireland and France.

To protect the site Nick is looking to get Local Green Space status for the area.

“Battlefields from the Norman Conquest are extremely rare, in fact there are only two known sites, the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the Battle of Northam in 1069,” said Nick.

“I started this campaign because I’m concerned we’re not focusing on what we might lose if this development goes ahead. Once the battlefield is built on the damage is irreversible and we just don’t know what’s under the ground there.

“I personally got involved because I did the initial research on the site. I’m from this area and I feel that we really need to look very much at our vision of this area in the future.

An artist’s impression of one of the 60 holiday homes.“My vision is that we totally support tourism but we need sustainable tourism which doesn’t destroy what the tourist came here to see.”

Nick believes the battlefield, once properly invested in, could bring thousands of tourist to the area each year, much like the battlefield at Hastings does.

He would like to see the battlefield have a well marked visitors trail, interpretation boards and annual commemorations involving reenactments.

He discovered the battlefield after five years of research and the location has since been backed by a number of distinguished historians and the Battlefields Trust.


Nick Arnold and concerned residents at the battlefield site.The battle is thought to have been “bloody” with many of the fighters being veterans of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Without protection there is currently nothing to stop developers building “hundreds of homes” on the battlefield.

Nick’s first step was to approach Torridge District Council in February.

He told councillors: “For years, the site has been lost – but now the site has been found. We know the landings took place in Appledore and the battle took place between Northam and Appledore.”

Nick thinks the site can be turned into a “tourism goldmine”.

The application should be seen by Torridge District Council’s plans committee on Thursday, September 7, but this date is provisional.

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