Posted: 22 March 2009 20:52

Offham had one roadblock and several barrel flame traps; having finished my walk across Mount Harry and up on Offham Hill I decided to have a look.

The block was somewhere near the Chalk Pit Inn, seen below. At left is a brick parapet that tops off a massive masonry frontage that appears to have some sort of drainage function. (I have since been told this was a funicular railway to transport quarried chalk down to the River Ouse for transportation.)

Roadblock recce

The roadblock comprised just cylinders and buoys, but being halfway up a hill, there's no offroad option.

An additional hazard was running a gauntlet of flame fougasses; this road joins another that leads straight into the heart of Lewes, making it vital to blunt any advance.

Another good feature of the road is the steep banks that run along the eastern side; perfect for hiding incendiary devices. A total of five were dug in and camouflaged along this stretch; a quick recce revealed no evidence of them, but some more work in this area might locate the firing points.

- Pete



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31 December 2018


Barrel flame trap

Incendiary booby-trap comprising a battery of oil drums dug in and concealed, usually in a roadside bank and detonated remotely as an enemy vehicle passes it. Also known as a flame fougasse.


Small concrete roadblock obstacle comprising a truncated cone with domed base. A hollow shaft down the centre allowed the buoy to be manhandled using a crowbar. Buoys were deemed of little value by 1941 and cylinders seen as a better solution.


Reinforced concrete cylindrical obstacles with a shaft down the centre in which could be inserted a crowbar for manhandling, or a picket for barbed wire. Cylinders were 90cm high and 60cm wide and deployed in groups of three as a more effective alternative for buoys.

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Hibbs, Peter Roadblock recce (23) - Offham (2020) Available at: Accessed: 22 February 2020

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