Pavenham ROC Post, Apr-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On April - 22 - 2009

After a failed explore elsewhere I decided to find an alternative to avoid a wash-out, I was carrying my Dell Mini 9 & 3G data stick so I did a little research on the web and came up with Pavenham ROC. I chose an ROC post because they don’t generally require much preparation and as long as you’ve found a recent report of one being accessible you’re likely to have no trouble getting in. I chose Pavenham as the location looked remote enough that the ‘chav factor’ wouldn’t come into play and previous reports and photos made it look like an easy approach.

On arrival at Pavenham I struggled to find the site, part because I didn’t have the exact coordinates and part because there was a road closed in the area which caused a long diversion. I cracked open the Dell Mini again and managed to find a grid reference (thanks due to ROC Remembered) and my satnav took me right to the place.

Previous reports made it look as though the post was right in the middle of a patch of brambles so I opted for an approach from the hedge side as it offered more cover from view of few houses and a public footpath. As I proceeded to drag myself through the hedge backwards I noticed a couple of topside features (air ventilator and probe cover) hidden amongst the brambles so I knew I was in the right place but I only found the hatch as I emerged from inside the hedge back into the field so there really is no point in approaching from that side!

The hatch opened easily and I immediately noticed a difference between this post and the previous two I had visited:

hatch_diff_sml

The key difference is that the one at Pavenham has the hatch counterweight on the right-hand side whereas those in Alderbury and Burgh-on-Bain are to your back which I found out much to my peril when I got a nasty bump on the head climbing up! The Pavenham solution seems much better and I’m not sure why they’re not all like that, perhaps they realised part way through the nationwide construction programme that they’d end up with injured officers up and down the country!

The inside of the bunker was pretty clean although much more sparse than the previous two ROC posts I have visited, I was very impressed to see many individual artefacts still present including an intact mirror. The other items present included a Glitto canister, a tin of Luxol enamel paint, a Tankard Bitter ashtray, the Eltex chemical toilet and various pieces of paper in good readable condition. The most notable item missing was the bunk bed, this leaves quite a large space free at the back of the room but that at least gave me a better perspective and I got to see the room from a different angle than those normally available to me.


Burgh-on-Bain ROC, Apr-2009

Posted by sickbritain On April - 3 - 2009

Whenever I’m on a long drive across the country I tend to slot in little quick urbex stops along the route to break up the journey (hell, it’s better than many motorway services). Recently I stopped off just outside a little village in Lincolnshire known as Burgh-on-Bain to take a quick look at the ROC post there. It’s extremely easy to find and right on a crossroads, the road’s not too busy either so parking isn’t a problem (you’re almost literally in the middle of nowhere).

The location is pretty but the inside is quite trashed, nowhere near as good a condition as Alderbury ROC I visited not long ago. Despite that, this post still has a piece of switchgear intact which was quite interesting and a strange board with pictures of spanners on it (presumably where they used to hang).

This time I didn’t encounter any fellow explorers so I just had a look around the underground portion as well as a little look at the overground shed/building – I’m not sure what this would have been used for though. I didn’t have much time so I just headed back to the car, there’s never a great deal of exploring to be done at ROC posts anyway.

One bit of advice I have for you when exploring ROC posts is to watch the metal counterweight on the way back up! I managed to bump my head on it quite heavily and I could still feel the pain a day later, if you did this too severely you could even slip off the ladder which could be quite dangerous so take care.

Here’s a few more photos…


Alderbury ROC Post, Mar-2009

Posted by thirtyfootscrew On March - 24 - 2009

This was a classic Sunday afternoon “what shall I do?” moment, quite why I ended up deciding to do three and a half hour’s driving to explore a tiny Cold War Nuclear Bunker in Wiltshire I don’t know but that’s the thing about Urban Exploration – it piques your interest just enough to make you do crazy things. Before visiting the Alderbury ROC I knew very little of it’s history, I’ve since done some research (mainly on Wikipedia) and it’s quite an interesting piece of history I’d never heard.

The Royal Observer Corps were in existence from 1925 to 1995 and their first significant operation was to act as aircraft spotters in WW2 where their task was to radio in any sightings of enemy aircraft or flying bombs. After the war ended they were briefly stood down after being in continuous operation from September 1939 to May 1945 then as the peace transitioned into the Cold War their role changed. The new role was to report nuclear explosions and monitor the nuclear fallout, to do this the crew of three would have to be prepared to spend up to 21 days underground in a 16ft x 7ft x 7ft bunker, between 1958 and 1968 over 1,500 of these bunkers were built across the country.

On arrival at the site I had to straddle a barbed-wire fence and then found the hatch easily, it was weighted down by a large flint boulder and the hatch opened easily once it was removed. Having never been to an ROC post before I felt a little apprehensive as I looked down the pitch black hatch, 20ft above a dark and slightly watery looking floor – anything could’ve been down there. I strapped on my head torch and proceeded downwards and I was surprised to see how small these bunkers were. Having been down there for just a few minutes I heard voices approaching, I stayed quiet for a brief time to gauge who the people were and what they might be doing. I was somewhat paranoid of being locked down there by the landowner or some random miscreants so before they reached the hatch I yelled out “HELLO?”, this startled the new visitors briefly and then they hung their heads over to see what was going on. It turned out that they were fellow explorers like me and they seemed like a nice friendly pair and it was nice to meet them both.

The bunker itself was surprisingly small and contained a pair of bunk-beds, a couple of cupboards, a crate and quite a few pieces of paperwork and documentation including fallout charts, instructions, aircraft identification diagrams and so on. This particular bunker was in pretty good condition, I gather from Googling around that many are not quite this neat and tidy, this one was apparently used by the BBC at some point in the recent past.

Having been down there for probably 10 minutes or so I decided to pop back up (as did my fellow explorers) and call it a day. It took us a few minutes to figure out how to shut the hatch (don’t force it, there’s a bar you need to shift and then it works) and then I replaced the boulder and headed back to the car.


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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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