Underground Naval HQ & Communications Centre, Portland, Dorset
A lazy Sunday evening with nothing better to do saw me recruit a new explorer, my Dad! I’d wanted to revisit the Underground Communications Bunker on Portland for quite a while now and when I mentioned it to my Dad he was very keen given his history of working in the (now long gone) HMS Osprey Dockyard.
For years he’d heard rumours of a bunker which stretched deep under the hill above the port but had never seen or believed it. I was happy to put the rumours to rest for him!
The Underground Communications Bunker was completed in 1941 and was a sub-command to Fort Southwick in Portsmouth.
There are four entrance tunnels to the bunker (two pairs) which join after a few yards in to two main tunnels. Both lead to the main operations area, a series of rooms in a ring formation. The internal loop of rooms has seen a few modern changes over the years with breeze block dividers put up to create more rooms and WC’s. The changes are seen in the diagrams opposite, drawn up by Nick Catford of Subterranea Britannica.
The Underground Communications Bunker was never used and the tunnels are in pretty good condition considering their age. There’s some standing water in places but nothing too serious. A lot more of the ventilation ducts have rusted through and fallen from the ceiling since the last time I visited the site in 2008 and a few of the tunnel linings have peeled away slightly but nothing else has changed dramatically apart from the make-shift storage yard almost completely covering one of the tunnel entrances outside.
Getting to the Underground Communications Bunker is quite a mission. After all it is inside an active port. A long walk, a climb, evading CCTV and regular patrols, this kind of explore really puts your stealth skills to the test.
I didn’t really get the photos I set out to capture but they’re good enough for now. It’s only taken me six years to finally put a report together for this site!
NOTICE: New bylaws introduced in 2018 at Portland Port are in effect and people are being convicted of, “entering or leaving a harbour premises other than by a designated entrance or exit, other than in an emergency”.