RAF Chilmark, Underground Ammunition Bunker, Wiltshire

RAF Chilmark was definitely a nice surprise. The underground was in really good condition (with exception to the offices as you enter the complex) with a lot of nice features.

Chilmark was a small limestone quarry worked to provide stone for Salisbury Cathedral. The quarry closed in 1935 when demand for limestone fell due to the increased use of concrete for building purposes. The quarry and surrounding land were bought by the Air Ministry in 1936.

In contrast to the other RAF ammunition depots, RAF Chilmark was stable. The limestone was of good quality, so fewer pillars were needed to support the roof, and the floor was level. The entrances were in poor condition, but these were strengthened with a concrete lining which gave the tunnels the appearance of the London tube!

The first consignment of war stores arrived in May 1937. Chilmark’s claim to fame is the fact that it was the only RAF ammunition depot to survive the war.

In the early years of the war RAF Chilmark took over a number of remote satellite depots including two of the War Office underground sites at Corsham (Eastlays Quarry and Ridge Quarry) and also developed immense surface storage sites in woodland at Dinton and Grovelley Wood.

We almost gave up trying to find this place after walking around much of the topside buildings and storage bunkers in the morning – interesting nonetheless they didn’t yield as much history and original features as we expected. The storage bunkers that were accessible were mostly being used to store wood.

However…in this game you can’t give up, and our prize was soon staring at us in the face…

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80 responses to “RAF Chilmark, Underground Ammunition Bunker, Wiltshire”

  1. Sam says:

    Found the small train tracks crossing the road but am confused at which way to follow them, along the footpath or in to the quarry? Any help would be great as really want to see what this is all about! Pictures look awesome.

    • Denise says:

      Black panther spotted up there today. Couple witnessed the cat kill a deer drag it through a barbed wire fence, take a chunk out of the deer’s neck then run off. Was reported to 101 but what can they do.

  2. Paul says:

    GPS co-ordinates would be more helpful than telling people they are in the wrong place!

  3. Hutchy says:

    Hello everyone I just want to give an update on the abandoned bomb stores and RGHQ for anyone interested in going.

    I have recently been down to Chilmark on the 12/09/2017, the bomb stores that you can see in these pictures is accessible… for now.

    The RGHQ is now sealed tight with thick chains on the first gate and then you’ve got the locked blast doors. You can still get in though, just be careful as it looks like it’s still in use by someone as it still belongs to the people that were growing the weed down there.

    Happy hunting and stay safe!

    • Daniel says:

      What was the weed factory.

      https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4227500/incredible-photos-show-abandoned-nuclear-bunker-turned-into-a-2million-a-year-weed-farm-as-three-men-are-jailed/

      Is it the RGHQ? Is this still ok? All kicked off Feb 2017 so that now a no, no I guess, or is it? What can be got into there as a car ride away. We are from Abingdon, 7 miles from Oxford.

      We do caching around Bath, Box, Monkton Farleigh, some on this website. Browns mine, Swan. Some on YouTube as Jason.

      • The Urban Explorer says:

        RAF Chilmark isn’t the RGHQ. The RGHQ has reportedly been acquired since the weed bust and will be in use imminently. Apparently.

        • Daniel Glover says:

          I found the road. Gate both sides. 2 compounds. Matched up Sun photo with police car. Some big mobile mast or something or another. So those gates mast side padlocked. Around corner down road by low railway bridge. Metal gate. Back of that weed building site. Any good. We need to go soon or miss out. See where places are on google streetview. Watched a YouTube video. Big props. Old vehicles. Loads of rubbish. That can be seen from above. Google Maps

          • The Urban Explorer says:

            I think you’ve already missed out, Daniel. If it’s YouTube you usually source info from, I’d check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxIqMr8AgP4 – shows the developments I mentioned and at the end of the video you’ll see some more info about what’s happening with it.

            • Daniel Glover says:

              Ok done 10 seconds. Nice drone footage. Thats the buildings on right. Gates both side. Was planning on getting in there. Guess no now. Will watch at dinner time. What’s the open long building non mast side. Not bunker side. The nice underground photos on the web page.

              https://youtu.be/x60FAh7Pm-g

              Is it worth 74 mile journey so 150 over the day. Need to know what to do. On Google Maps up the road building on same site as companies. Mentioned on here. What is needed to make an outing worth 159 miles. From Abingdon. Oxfordshire.

              • The Urban Explorer says:

                So, the open long building is an old sidings. Like a railway station. Nothing to see there. In fact, I think on that YouTube account I linked you there’s additional drone footage of a fly through it.

                The underground photos found on this site are from RAF Chilmark. About a mile up the road from the RGHQ in the quarries. I have no idea what access is like, it’s part of the hobby I’m afraid travelling hundreds of miles to find somewhere is inaccessible or even demolished. My advice would be to make a list of a few places in the area to visit, don’t put all your hope on one location.

  4. Luke says:

    Hi we have been to this site today 20th August 2017, everything is very over grown on the bunker side, also after opening the main bunker door realised that someone must be in there because of noises being heard! But this could be squatters? Would love to find out if anyone has any more information or direction to get into the bunker or any more awesome places around this site?

  5. dom says:

    Anyone ever need a quick tour/guidance hit me up, I live in Movant so not far, be happy to show anyone my discoveries

  6. Fish says:

    With the recent weed factory findings near Chilmark, is this the same site? If not I am keen to explore the munitions mine, I know where the train tracks cross the road, is the entrance to the mine in that quarry?

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      It’s not the same site, the cannabis farm was in the RGHQ down the road.

      You’ll do well following the train tracks, not sure of the current status.

      • Fish says:

        Cool, thanks.I will follow the tracks into the quarry and see what happens

      • Tom says:

        Is this place still there? Would love to go take a look.

      • Fish says:

        I went on Saturday, the quarry has been gutted and is now an empty square, there is still the lift shaft but that’s completely covered in protective gates. The entrance to the underground bunker has 4 or 5 padlocks on the outer gate with even more welded gates on the inside. The area around the bridge and entrance have been recently cleared. You can basically walk into the site. The group of buildings are now used as stock housing with plenty of sheep poo everywhere. The houses are used as storage but seems forgotten, there are two smashed up cars parked in there. Following the train tracks to the quarry, nothing has been touched, there is still a workmans hut, with pictures of his kids and other stuff, the gates to the quarry are padlocked.

    • dezza says:

      You are all looking in the wrong place, nuclear bunker located across the road from what used to be called HAM CROSS SITE Tisbury to Chilmark road. ex worker there when it was being built.

    • Corky says:

      Hi Fish. If you’ve found the rail tracks you’re right on top of both mines.
      If you follow the tracks along the pavement they go through a fence then down hill towards the mine entrance that was never a bomb storage. Only ever a stone mine.
      If you walk along the road on the opposite side of the road to the tracks on pavement you’ll notice you’re on a bridge. The entrance to the bomb storage mine is down there!
      The weed factory is about a mile away. Head from the tracks towards dinton. After a sharp left and in the dip it’s on your right. Good luck

    • James says:

      Hope you don’t mind me pointing out but they used to dismantle nuclear bombs in RAF Chilmark. The old loading bay used to be on the left as you went down the road to the COs offices. There used to be a bomb lift down into the decommissioning levels and where they took out the depleted uranium.

  7. Keepthingshidden says:

    Visited yesterday, no signs of activity apart from some hunters chasing pheasants (watch out for shotgun ball bearings flying past!).

    Bunkers are now used by a wine company, we did risk trying to access these anyway, whilst forklifts were about but they are all locked – these have all been painted etc now anyway so doubt they’re worth checking out. Top side buildings are very battered but still cool wondering through them. There was a couple buildings overgrown by ‘the bridge’ which I would have liked to check out.

    I believe there are two main entrances to the underground quarry, as well as the emergency shaft. We only found 1 main entrance and the shaft. Don’t try to access from the shaft, ladders etc are very rusty and you’ll have to break things to get in anyway, this route is dangerous. I would highly recommend a small group and be very quiet, the road is not far and cars pass by occasionally.

    There is also another bunker or storage of some kind, this is on the far side away from the quarry, this is guarded by police currently so presume something is still being stored.

    Well worth the trip, top side buildings are very easy to access with plenty of holes in the fences that have been poorly ‘repaired’.

  8. Gavin McColl says:

    Errr… I was part of the Civil Security team just after it closed and during the Atto’s clear up of old munitions. The mine was out of bounds to us because of the build up of Radon Gas. Since none of the decom equipment has been working for decades, I would advise caution if entering.

    • Paolo says:

      The mine was out of bounds to us because of the build up of Radon Gas. Since none of the decontamination fans has been working for decades

      – hmm, that radioactive gas would be nice then for the three slaves kept locked in there as gardeners, who the police found after nicking the three people traffickers who emerged and using their keys to get.

      • rambler2757 says:

        The bunker that was used as the cannabis factory is about a mile away from the mine, the bunker was designated RGHQ Chilmark but is closer to Fovant and Dinton.

  9. Woodland Wanderer says:

    Hi all

    RAF Chilmark is now operated as a HMRC bonded warehouse, all covered by CCTV, best to keep it covert.

    • Paolo says:

      “HMRC bonded warehouse” – and other post saying police guarding the place in October – so they were trying to avoid paying VAT on the cannabis being grown, and the police were assisting by guarding it?! Anyway, well done the police for busting the place; cannabis use can lead to irreversible schizophrenia in some people, and is a gateway drug to other illegals. And I bet the three men kept prisoner inside to “garden”, were illegally present in the UK, as the other three caught leaving the premises, were nicked for “people trafficking”. Good work all round, police.

      • sped says:

        Yes. Having smoked pot for the last 15 years I regularly find my self hearing strange voices. I kill occasionally but what the hell, I’m the second coming. But only in the more lucid moments I steal between getting smashed on cocaine and heroin.

  10. Dave Welch says:

    I had a distant relative, Wg/Cdr H W Cooper who had been station commander at RAF Chilmark in about 1945. He passed away in about 1975. I have his uniform SD Cap here in my office. I did photograph the SHQ building in about 1985. If anyone is interested I’ll see if I still have it.

  11. Bob says:

    Went down today, fences have been repaired and four or five heavy locks and chains on the entrance to the mine. Got removed by security after a while, guy wasn’t that friendly.

    • Woodland warrioir says:

      Hi All

      The site is now operated as a Customs and Excise Bonded Warehouse, best advice is do not enter as if you get caught it would be classed as more than just trespassing and could be charged with attempted theft. I work on the sister site nearby, we also do the same thing so best to keep off the site from now on, but having said that the photos are a very cool.

    • SammyT says:

      I wonder if these were the growers who got arrested yesterday. That operation had to be going on for quite a while.

  12. will long says:

    Went to visit here today. Mine’s in the hills are all still pretty accessible but the main store has 6 very new kicks and chains on it. Met another couple of guys on our wonderings but we had no luck.

  13. fluffy5518 says:

    Nipped in here today and glad to say all is still mint! Crackin’ pics by the way! The last pic of the lift, have you lit that at all or is it just natural light – either way its excellent!

  14. Hobbsy says:

    Been to visit this place twice with no luck of finding the mine. Spent hours walking round the topsite with no luck and getting quite annoyed after people said it’s right in front of their face what side of the road is it and a little pointer in the right direction would be amazing.

  15. Corky says:

    Hi. There are two mines at Chilmark. One is slightly bigger and was used as a munitions storage, the other is on the other side of the road and was only ever used as a stone mine. The latter was only closed a few years ago.

    I worked in the mine for a couple of years and the radiation is nothing to worry about. We wore special dosimeters to read the radon levels and handed them in weekly to have them analysed. Never had an issue.

    Both mines are worth a sneaky look but I would say the munitions mine is easier going and probably safer as the floor is more even.

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      Thanks for the comment Corky. I remember seeing a second opening almost directly above the mine entrance which almost looks like a cave system. Any ideas?

      • Corky says:

        Hi Urban Explorer. I’m not sure about the door you mentioned above the main door. There are a few small bell pit mines dotted about the hillside worth taking a look at so possibly might be one of those. The entrance to the stone mine that I mentioned is on the other side of the road to the munitions dump. There is a narrow gauge railway track that runs down a slight slope and straight into the mine. There were two steel doors which were easy enough to get over back then. Definitely take a couple torches if you’re tempted to take a look. It is insanely dark in there without light.

  16. I D Batten says:

    Interesting. My father and sister worked at RAF No. 11 M.U. During and after WW2
    He used to tell me about the tunnels. Being underground didn’t bother him as an ex coal miner. He started there in May 1947.

    • Tony Dwyer says:

      Back in the middle eighties I was told the story of two colleagues who had noticed the rail link into Chilmark from the train and had realised that it was not included on the OS map. Intrigued, and technically trespassing, they “explored” this on foot and ended up being arrested by the military police! The two insisted that the base was a store for nuclear weapons, although nothing I have read subsequently substantiates this but, then, that would have been the official view!

      • Jeremy says:

        Lived nearby to Chilmark in a village called Tisbury had a school visit to look at rock and formations. I can remember going down the lift and all I can say it was unreal a different world something you see in action movies there was always heavily guarded trucks coming and going during the 80s put money nuclear weapons.

  17. luke says:

    Hi all.

    I ventured here yesterday and as stated above I spent time looking around the top side around the buildings that were left, but not too much to see a lot of damage has been done by visitors. I went to where the bunkers are on the other side of the road but they are all storage units now so nothing to see there. But what I will say if you are after reward we walked for an hour or so around the building and ventured a little more when all of a sudden there it was in front of me, the prize. I felt amazing my heart pumping and butterflies in my belly at the entrance to the mine. I only had my phone light so only made it to the first chamber. But I am going back with more and will post results later :-) recommend to all who’s interests are our history.

    • Pat says:

      Hi Luke!
      Was there any security there? Is it completely empty? Is there any interesting stuff to take photos of?
      Thanks

    • Liam says:

      I’ve been here a few times and see the buildings but can’t seem to find where the bunker is, don’t know whether you could help me?

      • Jeremy says:

        If you are coming from Teffont towards Tisbury you will come up a hill over a bridge with a very sharp right hand bend the bunker is left at the bend just down the lane on your left.

  18. Al says:

    Hi All,

    FYI a good friend of mine worked at Chilmark a little over 3 years ago. I, like all of you was very keen to have a look at the bunkers, my pal said that exploring the site was particularly dangerous as there was residual radiation in the bunkers. My friend was in the RAF clearing the site at the time. The only time he and the team explored the bunkers they were given protective equipment.

    If it were me, I would not take the risk. Cheers

    • The Urban Explorer says:

      Hi Al,

      You’re right. The bunker does have levels of Radon in it, which is present in all air we breathe. Prolonged exposure to high levels of Radon is potentially dangerous and while I’m no expert, in my opinion, I believe a short time here isn’t a danger.

  19. Finn says:

    yo how hot was security here?

  20. Shane says:

    Liked the pictures, I have a 9year boy who loves all things to do with the world wars, is it safe to take him down there, he has seen the photo and got very excited, many thanks mate

  21. Wasp Grant says:

    I had a walk around the location a couple of months ago, there was activity on the site, they were using live explosives, so if you venture here, please be warned that it’s now part of the International School of Explosive Education

  22. Shell says:

    I have always been fascinated by abandoned places and you have some really interesting stuff on here!
    This one particularly interested me as my Great Grandfather was in the RAF and actually lived in Chilmark years ago.
    Fantastic photographs too :)

  23. Tom says:

    Hello could I have some more directions on how to get to this site as my great grandfather was in the raf back in the war. And I would just like to be nosey and have a good walk around thank you

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