Westwood Quarry, Wiltshire

A Royal Enfield motorcycle. Typical design of the world war era.
A Royal Enfield motorcycle. Typical design of the world war era.

Another early morning start, another trip to the exploring capital of the UK… Wiltshire! This time the target was Westwood Quarry. During the early part of the second world war, sections of Westwood were taken over in order to help with the war effort.

Royal Enfield used a large section of the mine to build motorcycles in the safety of the deep workings, and in the far end of the mine, following the blitz in London, priceless artefacts from all over the city were transferred to Westwood and securely stored behind two large safe doors. Sculptures, The Elgin Marbles, tapestries & carpets from the V&A, even the crown jewels were said to be stored there. The secure area was also one of the first places to have a ‘Radiovisor’ smoke detector. Nowadays, it’s still a secure storage area.

Entering Westwood, the mine is quite wet and rugged. The ceilings look immensely fragile, and in one section, thick chains wrap around the columns left behind from stone extraction so they don’t buckle under the weight above. But soon it becomes a lot drier & cleaner cut and evidence of the recent Hanson workings is scattered all around the central area. An office, complete with home comforts looks like it’s been ransacked. The usual working-mans topless girl calendars don the walls. The area outside the office still stinks of diesel where several oil drums lay strewn.

Walking further in to the mine you come across the Royal Enfield factory. Old worktops, machinery & paperwork. You really get a feel for the conditions of the workers down here. It’s a massive space. I’ve been here three times and still not managed to see all the of the workshop areas, you tend to find more on each visit, hidden away in the dark passages.

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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. Roy Tonkiss says:

    Just came across your site re – Westwood near Bradford – on -Avon in Wilts.
    My grandfather James Tonkiss was one of the people in charge on this site while working for Royal Enfield Motor Cycles based in Reddich Worcs, during the Second World War. At the time of his employment, he and my Grandmother lived in the ‘Tin Bungalows’ in Westwood, as did some of my close family members.
    My Grandfather and Grandmother eventually moved to Limpley Stoke where they had a Bungalow built.

  2. Mike says:

    Hi. I’m located in Swindon and just wondering if there are any places that are able to still explore? I been down Box mine after seeing it on your page and the abandoned morgue in Surrey! My email is fewins_28@hotmail.com could you email me please

  3. Thomas says:

    Hi do you have an address or location of this place?

  4. Mat says:

    Again, I’m new to this! I think I was in the right place yesterday, is it owned by Hanson as well. Followed the road opposite the nursery which ended up almost a hairpin and came to a dead end. Once again a big metal shutter, is there another way in around the back did someone say?

    1. Thom says:

      There are 3 Entrances that I know of, one was destroyed not too long ago due to badgers destroying the foundations, the other is welded shut and surrounded with a steel fence covered in anti-climb paint and the main door has a big steel shutter over it. There are around 5 air shafts, those are your best bet of getting down there now but you’ll probably need a long rope ladder or something and bolt cutters to get down there. The mine is also full of silent alarms as part of the mine is still in use but rarely, I also think the MOD own part of the mine too so I’d go careful poking around down there. There are easier mines to get into in Wiltshire.

  5. Tom says:

    The back entrance with the fence is quite easy to get round, the door I believe is just rusted shut but a crowbar could probably fix that, there are no welds that I can see so I guess you can get in if you can be bothered to bust the door open. I managed to get in the main entrance the other day because someone with a key was down in the mine I was able to get a few pictures but noting too good as I didn’t get too far in. Also some of the mine is rigged with silent sensors that call the police if are set off so just be careful, there are signs so just keep clear of them (not sure if the sensors work tho)

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Good insight, although I’d be careful what you’re advising on a public website. Anyway, from what I’ve heard the door is now secured from the inside sadly.

    2. Leon says:

      Hi Tom, do you have a location to Westwood Quarry? By the way to every one Lady Hamilton entrance in Corsham is still open went to the red door and the Cathedral two weeks ago.

  6. Will says:

    I’ve been shouting this for a while and just found this post, I managed to find the back entrance Jay’s photographed and I have hopped that fence quite easily, the door behind it is sealed with a few planks of wood, easy job for a crowbar of some sort I guess. Worth a check if you have the gear and are easy with climbing the fence! Best of luck!

  7. Nick says:

    Hello, Any chance you could email me Verylive@live.co.uk directions towards the rear entrance? Thanks!

  8. Jay says:

    To anyone thinking about exploring this place you may want to think again. The main entrance is very easy to locate and of course locked tight with the usual security signs and cameras. Don’t think cameras actually work or not on Sunday at least. Spent about 4-5 hours looking for the back door, exploring the forest chasing the odd squirrel or two and a pint in the pub by the river eventually we found it! as we did hearts quickly sank. Some nice new tall shiny metal sharp pointy fences are now barricading the entrance, looked very new and couldn’t tell if the door behind the bars are wielded shut or not either way someone doesn’t want people getting in there anymore

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Thanks for the update, Jay. Any photos?

      1. Jay says:

        Just a few of the back door, didn’t get to see any of the stuff worth photographing. Will PM them to you

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Okay, great. Thanks.

          1. Jay says:

            Photos of the barricade

            Westwood barricade

            Westwood barricade

            1. The Urban Explorer says:

              Wow, what a shame! Thanks for the update, Jay.

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