RAF Chenies Radar Station, Nov-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On December - 29 - 2009

Chenies01_towerOn the first free weekend for ages I found a nice easy to reach site in a countrified spot on the outskirts of Flaunden and Latimer, Hertfordshire. RAF Chenies was a post-WW2 radar station (history from Subterranea Britannica) that is now derelict apart from a live Met Office radar that still hums away under its golf-ball covering.

The ROTOR programme that led to its construction was a post-war attempt to modernise the UK’s radar infrastructure in the face of veiled threats from Cold War adversaries, the government committed a considerable amount of money to the project even though the British economy was in a pretty dire state.

The site is large when compared to the actual buildings which occupy a small portion of the fenced-in area, consisting of a main building complex…


The coolest part is probably the live ‘golfball’ radar which hums away in the background, as well as the large antenna at the very back of the complex…

Chenies02_ball Chenies05_ballcage

Around the side of the main building are a couple of sheds containing an electricity substation, some kind of machine and some barrels – it’s a little bit ‘Black Mesa’ with the humming radar in the background but I don’t think there’s anything too sinister out there.

Chenies08_barrel Chenies06_engine

Chenies07_dial Chenies09_muff

The interior of the building has two levels and consists of both completely ruined rooms as well as some that would be perfectly servicable, floors are a little unstable in places and some rooms would’ve been dangerous to enter.¬† It’s worth noting that there was a ‘Hazard Asbestos’ sign on the floor so wear your P3 if you’re on site here, here’s a few interior shots…




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7 Responses to “RAF Chenies Radar Station, Nov-2009”

  1. Grayhame Orlebar says:

    Spent some time here during my last 2 years in the RAF (1994 – 1996) when it was being used as an HF Transmitting station. The old radar rooms had long since been abandoned, and the site was only manned by a handful of personnel. The old “Operations Room” was used by the technicians there to play a game called “Chenies Ball”. There would be a volleyball net across the centre of the room and the game played very much like volleyball, but bouncing the ball off the walls was permitted, and in fact, encouraged! I’m sure some of the old techies could tell you more about this, as I only visited occasionally from nearby RAF High Wycombe.

  2. Steve Bacon says:

    Yeah, I was a techie at Chenies on the HF gear back in the early 80′s. We played Chenies ball, had a gym and a volleyball court on the front car park. There was no Golf ball radar and the Radio Relay mast was still the original wooden mast in my day.
    Great times were had at Chenies – the small team of techies were really tight.

  3. Ian Matthews says:

    I was an MT driver at High Wycombe in the early 80,s and spent many a time running the “techies” to and fro Chenies for work in a london taxi and having a great lunch at Latimer.

  4. Bob Watson says:

    I also spent time here as a Junior Technician based at RAF High Wycombe. 1981-1982. I was one of those techies that Ian and his colleagues took to and fro.

  5. sean parker says:

    Spent two very good years at chenies in the mid 90′s, the Radar is a Met office weather radar which we baby sat we also looked after a weather monitoring station situated up a track from the rear of the building, we were there looking after HF transmitters as an interim whilst St Eval TX station was being refitted apart from using the tea bar and offices the bulk of the old building was unused the HF TX were sited in a new build annex at the rear of the old building, the site by the looks of it has been completely vandalised, the gym area used to be a plotting/ops room and still had the tote boards up when i was there,
    The ‘machine’ photo is the old standby power generator, the large cage contains its fuel tank with fuel pipes underground to the shed, from memory these were dug up and replaced around 1995.

  6. Mark Harris says:

    Nice reading the comments here ….. Any of you guys remember a chap called Steve Taylor? Think he was at Naphill and was at Chenies for a while?

  7. Ralph Ireland says:

    I did part of my National Service at RAF Chenies in 1956. I was a Junior Technician on Ground Radar maintenance

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