Fremington Army Camp, nr Barnstaple, Devon

Fremington Army Camp

The last day of our Dorset & Devon camping trip took us to North Devon. The disused Fremington army camp near Barnstaple which has laid derelict since 2009 and awaiting its fate. Currently being decided by Fremington Developments LLP. Although, no news has been updated since 2011

Fremington Army Camp (opened in 1943), although abandoned, has a sense of feeling that it could quite easily be used again at the drop of a hat. Hardly any damage has taken place, nor has Mother Nature really taken hold. It’s always good to see a site free of abuse and graffiti.

Exploring the camp

Nearly all the buildings at Fremington Army Camp are locked up tight, either under lock & key, or simply screwed shut. Luckily we found a couple which weren’t and the contents were fairly interesting. A theatre/stage set up which had been converted into a gym, lockers with a few personal items still remaining & a postal sorting room.

A rather basic, although very demanding-looking obstacle course remains, we were good boys and resisted having a go!

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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. John Michael says:

    I was stationed at Fremington camp between 1965 and 1969. It was a great posting and made many friends while serving there. We were the only army unit that ran DUKWs and we did various operations with these vehicles and could be seen almost every day between the camp and Instow, where the REME workshops were. We also did flood relief work saving people and animals from the heavy floods that occurred in Devon. A lot of the ex army members who were based there still meet every year at the Barnstaple hotel, usually in October.

  2. Stuart Westwood says:

    Going back to Mark’s post. I traveled to this camp in 1983 from Guards depot in Pirbright for adventure training. Remember the jump from bridge into water only waist high, and it was pretty character building stuff for a seventeen year old kid. Think this was the camp where half of the platoon came down with food poisoning if memory serves correctly. After doctor had seen all affected junior guardsmen and ordered bed rest the NCO`s soon got us dressed into PT order and “beasted” us around a log course. What fond memories LOL! Sorry to hear it’s gone. I’m fifty five now but still remember such places with “fond” memories.

    1. Keith Jones says:

      Stuart 🟦🟥🟦
      For years Barnstable were pumping raw sewage into the estuary on the outgoing tide. Obviously environmental legislation, has long since prevented this. But before we were treated to a taste 😂🤣😇🤢🤮

      1. Stuart says:

        Hi Keith,

        Thanks for letting me know mate… just more crap we had to swallow. After a while you get used to it lol.
        As previously mentioned its all character building stuff and has done me absolutely no harm.

  3. Alan Heath says:

    I did my basic training here in 1979!

  4. Chris Lyne says:

    Used this site as a base for a couple of weeks in 2010, I think we were probably the last users of the site, I think someone told me the lease was up very shortly and the site was earmarked for housing.
    We used the workshops on site to store/repair a vehicle, which was down there for testing across the estuary.

  5. Jess says:

    I’m a new YouTuber and would love to vlog some of these places. I have always been into urban exploring but have never found out how to do it properly. Who would I have to get hold of to be allowed to explore these places

  6. Pete says:

    I grew up in Barnstaple, a few miles from Fremington and went to the camp regularly as an army cadet in the 90s. It was always a bit run down but I have amazing memories of it. The assault course was hard going as a 14 year old, climbing the tower and zip lining down, the smell of the 22 rifle range and of course my first sneaky beers.

    It’s now gone and turned into a housing estate, as has Arborfield garrison where I went as recruit regular soldier. Thanks for the pics and trip down memory lane!

  7. Bill Martin says:

    Hi everyone,

    My Father worked there from the end of the war on his return from his 8th army days. My Grandfather was head gardener to the family who resided at the manor until the war department took it over and built the camp, my Father was the groundsman and and sports organiser until ill health forced him to retire not long before the camp closed. He ran a football team that at times (I was their mascot) was boring to watch as there were some pro players doing their national service stint and scores often ended more like rugby scores!

    The camp for a time was called the school of combined operations, its flag was an anchor and rifle and wings (I still have one somewhere in the attic). Commander Booth ran the camp for a longtime. Lovely man as I remember. When I as a nosy young kid I asked him why everyone was painting everything with watery white paint? He said it was for a visit the following day by Lord Mountbatten. My Dad kept me home from school so I could go into work with him and see him, another lovely man even though he patted me on the head and said I should be in school!

    Often I would go into work with Dad in order to mark out the pitch for a home game or for other types of sport and being a small kid seeing and hearing all that went on during square bashing, (the crash of so many studded boots hitting the tarmac is something to witness, sadly gone forever) but it put me off ever joining up. I am coming up to 72 now and often reflect on the interesting childhood I had and do believe they really were the good old days.

  8. Doug says:

    Visited today to find the barracks are no more, only housing development. Sad to see it gone.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Thanks for the update, Doug. Do you have any photos to back this up that I can publish?

      1. Karl stavey says:

        Hello buddy, my Dad used to be an army cadets member, well adult, he used to use hut 22 or 23 we used to go there all the time even though it was shut before the houses and the gates got properly locked. He used to mow the grass around his hut and he still has one of the plaques from his hut.

    2. Graham Shepherd says:

      That used to be my home back in 1968. It was then the camp for 18 Amph Sqn RCT. We had the old DUKW´s from the D-Day landings.

  9. Mark says:

    This was used by the Guards deport pirbright, for adventure training around the local area up until at least 1994.

    There was a large water tower to the right of the main gate. It had a platform around it with a trap door.

    This was where the ‘tower drop’ and ‘tower swing’ took place.

    The place always had a lot of unused buildings back then.

    Shower block 21B will still be there.
    This was a bridge over a relatively fast flowing river. The drill was to jump off the bridge in to the water.

  10. Tom says:

    I’ve been here many times, I’ve got so many good pictures

  11. jake holden says:

    I used to go here as an Army Cadet and also my Great Grandad was based here for a while when he was a serviceman in the war! It was an amazing site and even more so when I thought back that my Great Grandad was also walking those grounds when he was my age. Shame it has been demolished.

  12. kieran says:

    Hi guys. I live where the army camp is they’re planning to get rid of I think

  13. explorermom says:

    Been there very recently and the demolition crew have moved in – there will not be much left for much longer.
    Tricky to access for an old bird like me! Well worth it.
    Got lots of photos – rather strange atmosphere.

    1. SC Urbex says:


      I’m in Bideford for a few days this week on holiday, have my camera, is it still worth a visit or is it all gone now? Is access still possible if the demolition crew have moved in?



      1. explorermom says:

        Hi Steve, I was there about 10 days ago and the demolition crew had flattened loads. In the last 10 days who knows how much more they will have done?

        I’m sorry I can’t be much more help.

        You have to be tenacious to find the way in – but it is there.

        I got lots of photo’s… how would I add them?

        1. You can’t add them to this site, but you can link to them if you upload to something like Flickr, Photobucket etc.

        2. Harriet says:

          How do you get in? From what side? Found the site but looks well protected.

          1. explorermom says:


            (not sure how much detail we are permitted to put out – I totally understand if admin do not allow)

            1. It’d be very easy for developers, security etc. to just seal up entry points if they were broadcast in the public domain. I know this particular site isn’t exactly high-profile, but all-for-one, one-for-all.

              Besides… this has to be the easiest place to enter, ever! The entry point you mentioned is the exact one I took over 3 years ago.

  14. LancsExplorer says:


    Great site, love the pics. Just thought I’d let you know though what you have marked as Postal Pigeon Hole is actually part of the armoury where the rifles are locked into racks.


    1. Oh really? I could have sworn that building actually had “Post” signage on the outside. But thanks anyway!

  15. Kat says:

    Hi everyone,

    I live in Instow which is a short bus ride from Fremington, and am really interested in checking this out for my photography course work.
    I don’t suppose anyone knows if it’s still okay to get to?
    Love the photos from this one :)


  16. Lee Stacey says:

    This is crazy! I spent a lot of time here in between 1999 – 2001, with army cadets and TA. Judging by the photos nothing has changed! Might have to pop up one day and look around myself!

    1. Eben says:

      I have been in this camp recently and I have to say Mother Nature has taken and there is graffiti and it has an eerie feel to it.

  17. Ian Davis says:

    Hi Adam,

    I visit Devon each year and have become really interested in urban exploration and have found this website a great source of information,

    I just wondered if this Army camp is still accessible for exploration, and also how long ago did you explore the camp?

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Ian,

      Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately it’s been so long since I visited Fremington Army Camp that I couldn’t say what’s happening with it. It was 2011 when I explored the site.

      I have a friend who lives near that might be able to give me an idea on what the current situation is. I’ll let you know


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