Saturday, 1 September 2012

RAF Hampstead Norreys

I was attracted to this one because of the pillboxes shown on the DOB so a visit was in order. I remember the place from diving past for many years and over time had watched parts disappear.  One place comes to mind is the guard house which was near the stables at Wyld Court. It was there for years then I noticed it had been removed, maybe it had deteriorated and the landowner demolished it. The photo below was taken in 1955 and you can see the tree runways and all the dispersal points.  wikipedia

I decided to go along and see how many of the pillboxes were left and in what condition they were. One I knew as near the farm as it can be seen when you drive past and I had spotted a second in the woods on the way from Aldworth.

Turned out to be well overgrown with brambles though did have some of the embrasure  shutters from the war still in place. From there is was a drive round to the farm to ask if it was ok to visit the one in the field. The Manager was a little reluctant due to other people wandering round with out asking but as I had he told me where to go an look for the pillboxes.

One of the reasons for visiting was the filed had no crops in so easy to get to. The external is suffering from erosion and on to it still has earth from the camouflage.
Inside there are shutters, the steel door and gun mount.

The next is across the old airfield quite near what was an old quarry, the door from this one was outside. Finding the next was by luck as I popped into the woods to look at a building and spotted the pillbox.

The last pillbox was reached by walking along a footpath that was near Aldworth then cutting across the field.

Outside is eroded and the earth is still on top along with the curly wire posts for barbed wire, inside are more along with shutters and the steel door inplace

 The rest of the old airfield is worth a look with old air raid shelters in place as well as the bases of buildings and the ammunition dump.
 The one above is being distorted by tree roots which is growing on top

You can even come across the odd aircraft tie down. The old runways have been removed though parts of the perimeter track still exist. The place where the main runway used to be is used by light aircraft which are kept on site  near the farm.
The place was worth the time to visit and look round and hopefully I will get back for the parts I have missed.  Flickr Photos


  1. Hello Bill,

    A colleague, Dick Greenaway, is interested in the prospect of producing a book/booklet on RAF Hampstead Norris. Until a few weeks ago he was chairman of the West Berkshire Countryside Society and has written much on local history. He admires your photographs and wonders whether or not you might make some of them available for the proposed book? Needless to say there's never any money in local history projects like this, but your pictures would acknowledged with thanks.

    Nick Hopton.

    1. Don't have a problem with that, he is welcome all I ask is a copy. There are more here