RAF Finmere, Jul-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On July - 19 - 2009

Finmere WoodsIt’s been a while since I managed to find time for exploring with a combination of weather, birthdays, grubby British weather and so on but this weekend I managed to get across to West Park (report due soon) and I managed to have a little poke around in the woods near RAF Finmere.

When I arrived in the area there seemed to be some activity on the airfield so I had to give that a miss but so I headed down to the woods, parking next to (but not in front of!) a gate by a public footpath. The woods seem to be used heavily for paintballing and there’s plastic tape up all over the place, I managed to tread carefully and avoid being shot but on a couple of occasions I did end up within a hundred yards of a group of paintballers but I don’t think anyone spotted me.

The majority of the structures remaining seem to be odd roofless bunker/trench type arrangements, I saw at least 7 or 8 of them dotted throughout the woods (bearing in mind I was avoiding the ‘live fire’ of the paintballers), I’m not sure what their original use would have been…

Entrance to Bunker

Entrance to Bunker

Bunker Layout

I didn’t have much time on my hands so I was probably only wandering around for an hour or so, I’d love to come back with someone who knows the area a bit better – if anyone’s interested please give me a shout.


Nocton RAF Hospital, Mar-2009: Video #3

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On May - 5 - 2009

Following on from my other urbex videos, I’ve compiled a final video that completes the exploration of Nocton RAF Hospital. This third video runs through a large swathe of the main building with a few excursions, it was easily the creepiest part of the whole day and a large part of why I got the hell out of there!

If you’d like to learn a little more about the place, please check out the first Nocton video or you can get some great background info from RAF-Lincolnshire.info.

Music used in video…

http://ccmixter.org/files/milabrya/19323
http://ccmixter.org/files/morgantj/19473

Nocton RAF Hospital, Mar-2009: Video #2

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On May - 4 - 2009

Following on from my first urbex video, I’ve compiled another video that continues the exploration of Nocton RAF Hospital. The second video picks up where the first left off and contains video footage and photographs of a large part of the facility’s exterior and a few shots from inside buildings, leading right up to the point where I enter the main building…

If you want a little history you can check out the first Nocton video or you can get some great background info from RAF-Lincolnshire.info.

Music used in video…

http://ccmixter.org/files/GrangeGorman/12222
http://ccmixter.org/files/Loveshadow/12996

Nocton RAF Hospital, Mar-2009: Video #1

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On May - 3 - 2009

Whilst exploring the abandoned RAF hospital at Nocton I lodged my camera-phone behind the strap of my camera bag to make an impromptu body-cam and have edited the footage together with my photos from the day to make the video below. This video represents roughly the first third of the explore (it’s a big site) and around half of all the photos I took, the music used in the clip was taken from CCMixter.org, links to the tracks are below the video. Before watching the video it’s worth perhaps having a little history on the place, I’ve taken my info from RAF-Lincolnshire.info and Wikipedia, you can read more there if you wish.

The site contains an historic listed building, a stately home originally constructed in 1834 and rebuilt in 1841 by the first Earl of Ripon. The hall was first used as an convalescent home for American officers in 1917 during the Great War and was turned into a full-scale hospital by the RAF in 1940 but was has been intermittently used by the US Army from World War 2 right up to the first Gulf War in 1991/92. At it’s height of readiness during the Gulf War the site employed roughly 1,300 medical staff and had 740 beds even though it only ended up treating 35 casualties, following this period the hospital was handed back to the RAF and was finally abandoned to the elements in September 1995.

On a personal note, I find it sad that the property (especially the hall) has been left to fall into such a derelict state, it has been the victim of several arson attacks and an extensive amount of vandalism but the place still has a lot of character with an air of eeriness about it, mainly due to its size and advanced state of dereliction.

Music used in video…

http://ccmixter.org/files/everyeye/3206
http://ccmixter.org/files/Neurowaxx/19080
http://ccmixter.org/files/LiquidEyes/11536


Nocton RAF Hospital, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On April - 6 - 2009

I originally made an ill-fated trip down here in May 2008 and managed to get one useful shot off before my camera (a Canon 400D) started throwing up the chilling ‘ERR99′ – the error it shows when it knows somethings is wrong but doesn’t know what. Thankfully that turned out just to be the Tamron 17-50mm I had (since replaced by the Sigma) but it did mean my original attempt at Nocton was an epic fail. I don’t really pass through this area very often so it was a while before I could make my repeat visit but in March I managed to swing by with an hour or two to spare and it was well worth it. There are two possible explores at Nocton, one is Nocton Hall (pictured right) and the other is the enormous former 740-bed RAF Hospital, I went for the latter and passed by the hall as I had limited time and the lure of an abandoned RAF hospital was just too much!

Entrance to the site was simple, I parked up right next to the giant metal gates which were already completely busted up. I got my tools out (Canon 400D, Sigma 18-50mm, Speedlite 580 EXII, Maglite), gloves on (left hand full DeWalt, right hand fingerless), mounted my head-torch and headed on into the site. At first I had a poke around some of the nearby buildings and a few Anderson shelters before heading towards the nearer edge of the site, at this point I pulled back because that area is easily visible from the houses and flats in the distance and I didn’t want to blow my cover this early! After looking around a few of the other buildings in near the gate I headed rightwards.

It’s easy to underestimate this place at first but Nocton is truly massive – space isn’t really a problem in Lincolnshire so almost all of the buildings are single storey and if you imagine a combined RAF base and 740-bed hospital it ends up being an extremely large site. Inside the main body of the facility there are a series of long corridors, in what appears to be the main building there’s a large corridor running down from front to back (i.e. from the gate end straight forward) which is then crossed by long corridors running to the left and right at several intersections down the main corridor.

The walls contain directions around the site in the form of coloured stripes and every now and again you see a red bar hanging from the ceiling showing which department you’re at, in my time there the only labelled bits I made it to were the pharmacy, path lab, surgical ward and gynaecology department. Pretty much all of the rooms across the site are large and empty, it’s reasonably clear to see where an area would have been full of beds (i.e. a standard ward) and where there would’ve been a series of private rooms with beds but some of the areas are a bit ‘different’ and have some interesting little quirks. One of the more interesting buildings I found must have been some kind of administrative block and housed a giant safe, seemingly impossible to get into now but the door is still there and the whole unit is at least the size of a normal door. The place must have housed sensitive documents and military secrets, I’m not sure exactly when Nocton closed down but it’s intriguing to think about whether there’s still some classified material stashed away in there!

Across the whole of the base there are in excess of 50 buildings (see Google Maps) so there’s quite a lot of work to be done if you want to cover the whole place. I only skimmed the surface really but I think I managed to rush my way in and out of most of the major areas (but certainly not every building in each area). In terms of safety I saw a couple of signs and even some graffiti pointing out that there is asbestos present on the site so make sure you go in there wearing a P3 dust mask.

I picked mine up at Screwfix for about ¬£5, there are cheaper P3 masks but don’t compromise your safety by using a lower rated (or unrated) mask or by using some other fabric to cover your mouth – if it doesn’t work out you could end up with serious illness down the line. Otherwise I thought that most of the surroundings, floors, ceilings and the occasional staircase all seemed relatively intact – it doesn’t mean they all are though so keep your wits sharp and don’t forget to read the Urbex Safety post.

After exploring for nearly a couple of hours I began to get one of those ‘sixth sense’ feelings that I’d overstayed my welcome and decided to leave, I took my time traversing the site and popped into a few areas on the way but I was fully intending to head off the site. I’d gotten this strange vibe that maybe I wasn’t alone on the site, it’s hard to explain why as I hadn’t heard any voices and sites like this always have strange noises (doors creaking/banging, pipes rattling, etc.). I wouldn’t say that I was worried as it was a windy day which will increase that sort of ‘natural’ activity and besides the only people likely to be on the site would be other people exploring and I’ve always found other explorers to be polite and courteous (if not slightly suspicious!) but something deep inside me told me that I really ought to leave and it’s always worth listening to your instinct.


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About Me

If youre into Urbex or youre trying to find out what its all about you may find yourself needing some help finding out about the art of Urban Exploration.  Here at Sick Britain Im planning to put up original content like my What is Urbex? and Urbex Safety articles as well as posting links to other community sites such as 28 Days Later or Derelicte.

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