stockland hill


THE STOCKLAND HILL TRANSMITTER is the UHF main station that serves Exeter and East Devon, as well as some parts of Somerset and coastal areas of West Dorset.  The station also carries DAB and local FM radio services.

Sited near Axminster and Honiton, it is the most easterly of the five UHF main stations located across the south-west of England. (See Regional Map).  The other UHF main stations that serve the region are located at Beacon Hill (South Devon), Caradon Hill (East Cornwall), Huntshaw Cross (North Devon) and Redruth (West Cornwall).

The station is most associated historically with the Caradon Hill transmitter due to the combined function of both stations in the establishment of ITV 405-line VHF coverage across the south-west region. (See VHF Television History)



Following the successful completion of Digital Switchover at Beacon Hill on 22 April 2009, Stockland Hill was the second transmitter group in the south-west region to complete the process, which was implemented in two stages as follows -

Stage 1 (DSO1) - 6 May 2009

BBC Two analogue on Channel 26 ceased broadcasting permanently and PSB1 multiplex (BBCA) launched on Channel 26

Stage 2 (DSO2) - 9 September 2009

All other analogue services ceased broadcasting permanently and high powered digital multiplexes launched.

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Stockland Hill was built by the Independent Television Authority (ITA) as one of two 405-line VHF Band III stations required to establish an ITV service across the south-western counties of Cornwall and Devon.

Propagation tests ascertained that the 150-mile length of these two counties combined was beyond the coverage capabilities of a single VHF Band III station centrally-placed within Dartmoor, ruling out the possibility of adjacent siting with the BBC VHF Band I station at North Hessary Tor.  

The ITA concluded that separate stations would be required for Cornwall and Devon, respectively positioned to the west and east of the Dartmoor Hills and with both sited towards the east of their respective coverage areas.

The Cornwall station would utilise the Bodmin Moors as a means of ground elevation, the chosen site being Caradon Hill, near Launceston.

For the Devon area transmitter, The Blackdown Hills provided the highest natural platform and within this range Stockland Hill was identified as a suitable site for the station.  Somewhat characteristically of the area, the site was located on a plateau rather than a summit, with positioning almost immediately alongside the main 'Stockland Hill' road.

Scheduled to transmit on VHF Channel 9, the principal service area of the station needed to extend east-to-west from the respective borders with Dorset and Somerset to parts of North Devon and crucially the central ground of Dartmoor where coverage would link-up with that of Caradon Hill to ensure a service as comprehensive as possible across this difficult territory.

Two vision transmitters (both rated at 5 kilowatts) and two sound transmitters (both rated at 1.25 kilowatts) were specified for the station.

Fairly typically, a 750-ft (228 metre) mast was designated (as it was also at Caradon Hill) to minimise the negative impact of intervening hills.  Combined with an identical ground elevation, this provided an average aerial height of 1475-ft (449 metres) above sea level.

The aerial system was designed to deliver the maximum Effective Radiated Power (e.r.p) of 100 kilowatts in two directions, north-west towards Barnstaple and south-west towards Dartmouth.  A minimal 10 kilowatts was directed eastwards to negate the risk of interfering with the Croydon station in London which also used VHF Channel 9.  To provide a mainland link to the Channel Islands, a 20 kilowatt signal was beamed south-eastwards towards the link station at Alderney for relaying to the Fremont Point transmitter, once this became operational in September 1962.

Whilst designed to minimise coverage duplication with adjacent stations, it was accepted that fringe reception from Stockland Hill was possible across much of Somerset despite the low power of eastward transmissions, resulting in a notable overlap with the St Hilary (Cardiff) station.

Regular transmission from both Caradon Hill and Stockland Hill commenced on 29 April 1961 upon launch of the ITV service in the south-west, the regional contractor being Plymouth-based Westward Television.

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The south-west of England began the move to UHF colour in July 1969, initially with BBC2 from Caradon Hill.  In total, five UHF main stations (plus numerous dependent relays) were required across the region with both Caradon Hill and Stockland Hill as the principal components, as they had been for the ITV 405-line service.

UHF Coverage from Stockland Hill was typically curtailed in comparison to the VHF service, despite an e.r.p of 250 kilowatts for UHF compared to 100 kilowatts under VHF.  Specifically, UHF was unable to match the far north-westerly and south-westerly reaches of the VHF signal, requiring the VHF relay site at Hunsthaw Cross in North Devon to become a UHF main station (as planned from the outset) and the construction of a totally new main transmitter site at Beacon Hill to cover South Devon.  

Stockland Hill commenced UHF-Colour transmission between 13 September 1971 and 2 October 1971, starting with ITV and completing with BBC2.  Although the station was manned, the ITV UHF transmitter fell within the jurisdiction of the Colour Control Room (CCR) based at Caradon Hill and later on the Regional Operation Centre (ROC) at St Hilary.













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Stockland Hill, Nr Honiton, Devon, EX14 9EP

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Arqiva (Legacy: ITA/IBA/NTL Broadcast)

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(*) Average UHF aerial height above sea level (a.o.d)



Digital Television 




Analogue Radio (FM)











: Ch/Polarisation/e.r.p







: 26 / H / 50kW  


 Heart Exeter FM:




: 29 / H / 50kW 






: 23 / H / 50kW   


Digital Radio (DAB)


: 25 / H / 25kW 




: 22 / H / 25kW 

BBC National (Block 12B)


: 28 / H / 25kW



 Digital One (Block 11D)






South East Devon (Block 11C)








(Shutdown completed 20 May 2009)

Analogue Television 




Digital Television



















: 33 / H / 250kW






: 22 / H / 5.0kW


: 26 / H / 250kW  






: 28 / H / 5.0kW


: 23 / H / 250kW 






: 25 / H / 5.0kW


: 29 / H / 250kW






: 32 / H / 5.0kW


: No service






: 30 / H / 2.5kW









: 34 / H / 2.5kW










Beacon Hill  Caradon Hill  Huntshaw Cross  North Hessary Tor  Redruth


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