CANDLESTON VOLUNTEER RIFLE RANGE
Map Reference SS87NE
Grid Reference SS86467668
Unitary (Local) Authority Bridgend
Old County Glamorgan
Community Merthyr Mawr
Type of Site FIRING RANGE
Broad Class Defence
Period 19th Century
Site Description A volunteer rifle range was located on Merthyr Mawr Warren, a short distance to the west of Candleston, and was shown as such on the OS County Series 1st edition map of 1877. As portrayed, the range was 800 yards long aligned roughly north-north-east by south-south-west. Targets are shown, slightly offset from the firing line, at the north end, and the firing positions appear as points at 100 yard intervals. A structure is also portrayed in front of the firing line, near the targets, but is not annotated.
The range spans an area of sand dunes some of which are of considerable height. Some of the firing positions (600-800 yd), if literal, were unsuitable, for example lying directly behind dunes obscuring the view of the targets though nearby high points might have been used as rifle mounds.
SS86577695 100 yards: a dune ‘bank’ or a hollow in the dune system.
SS86537686 200 yards: a natural scarp in the dune system.
SS86507677 300 yards: a sharply scarped dune slope.
SS86467668 400 yards: a distinct grassy mound in a dune slack measuring 4m (NE-SW) by 3m and 0.6m high. Perhaps the only artificial firing position structure located here. Despite its low-lying location it may have been intervisible with the targets though tree growth now obscures the view.
SS86447657 500 yards: location atop a steep dune slope.
SS86407651 600 yards: location at the foot of a steep slope.
SS86367643 700 yards: location part-way down a very steep slope.
SS86337635 800 yards: location at the foot of a steep slope.
SS86597700: the most prominent structure lies at the north end of the range close to the targets. It is a length of mortared walling, a broad U-shape, measuring 6.1m (20 feet) long, 0.4m-0.5m thick and surviving to almost 2m high. Inturned end-walls measure 2.1m long. Against the front of the wall is built a rectangular stone structure 0.97m by 0.5m, set on a rectangular plinth 1.45m by 0.6m. Map portrayal suggests that the wall is the remains of a four-sided building, possibly intended as a markers' hut or shelter.
The targets themselves, portrayed at SS86577703, about 30m north of the wall, were seemingly set on a level area at the foot of a steep dune slope, but nothing structural was seen.
By the second edition map of 1899 the range is no longer shown. It was likely replaced by the new range to the west in the dunes near Newton (see NPRNs 415721 & 419922).
David Leighton, RCAHMW, 9 April 2014