RAF Sculthorpe is an abandoned and derelict RAF air base in Norfolk. It was built for use by the USAF during World War 2 and was the largest airfield in the UK by 1957, with over 10,000 people based there. It was an active base during WW2 and the Cold War. The USAF deployed to Sculthorpe during the Berlin Crisis in 1949 and then, in 1952, it became home for the 47th Bombardment Wing, who were there for a decade. In 1963 Project Clearwater halted large scale rotational bomber deployments to Britain, and RAF Sculthorpe was returned to the Air Ministry. Sculthorpe was left empty at the end of the Cold War in the early 90's. The site has been since sold off and houses a business park in some parts of it, although all the accommodation blocks and various buildings have remained derelict. The airstrip area remains in military hands, and is used as an army helicopter training area. The pictures below were taken in August 2019.
Located on the right hand side upon entry to the site by the main gate. It is eerily silent apart from the wind whistling through the exposed metal beams and broken windows. There are quite a few buildings in this area, some are overgrown and inaccesible and some just too damn scary to go into! One building has been taken over and refurbished for business use. The buildings are in a terrible state with roofs, walls and windows missing, paint peeling from the walls, what remains of the electrical installation and roof trusses rusting away and brambles slowly taking over the derelict buildings.
The Gatehouse is a small single room building, once controlling access to the airfield. The windows, door and fixtures are long gone but the building is sturdy and in fairly good condition.
The barracks are situated to the north of the site on the left as you enter through the main gate. There are six blocks in total and are built in the shape of a "Z". Now overgrown, the barrack blocks are all derelict and it's hard to imagine that airmen spent many years living here and were kept in pristine condition. Sadly, vandals have been visiting over the years since they were left empty, and therefore grafitti decorates the walls, which I found fairly disrespectful considering the reason the buildings were there in the first place. The folly of youth I suppose! In the first picture below you can see barrack block 785 to the left taken from Batchelor Drive. The second picture is the three blocks on the same road from behind, blocks 795, 785 and 790.
This is one of the more accessible blocks and closest to the road. It was incredibly eerie walking around the block. It was deathly silent aside from a door banging in the wind, which scared the life out of us! We soon braved it and stepped inside the building. Paint peeling, broken glass everywhere and sadly the walls have been covered in graffiti but you can still imagine airmen climbing the stairs after a long day. Most rooms downstairs still have their storage cupboards, all empty now but some have been etched by whoever lived there. Possibly hoping that one day someone may see it and wonder what sort of life they had here and what they did after leaving Sculthorpe.
This is the only three storey building in the living quarters. It was fairly overgrown with brambles but we found a narrow path through the grasses where other intrepid photographers had gone before us. This was the most derelict building of all of them with several trees growing on top of the roof. Much of the plaster has fallen from the walls and someone had decided at some point to have a fire in one of the rooms using all the wooden doors. We noticed that the rooms were larger than those from barrack 790. We assumed this may be for the officers. The cupboards inside had three doors and were built-in, with top cupboards. A marked difference to those of barrack 790 which were really small, free standing with just one door. There were bathrooms on each floor, all smashed to bits sadly, and heavy graffitti marks every room.
This building is the only single storey building in the living quarters. It is situated to the left of the barrack blocks. It's really overgrown and you can only see it from the Truman Hall upper floors! It's almost completely covered in brambles on the road side. The other side is more open, but we didn't find this out until we battled our way through the undergrowth to get in! We must've found the rear entrance because the first bit we came across was the boiler room that powers the building! The first section below is my explore of this. As we made our way through the brambles there were open tunnels all over the floor, I guess for the pipework from the boiler room, so we had to tread extra carefully. We entered the Rec Room first. This is in the second section below. This looked really nice with a lovely fireplace along the wall. Sadly the children's artwork on the walls is long gone and now covered in graffitti, but a chair and an old TV still remain. I'm guessing this is where the kids played while the crew had dinner and relaxed in the bar. As we walked through we came across a huge dining hall with pillars, and serving hatches and a kitchen. Obviously why there was a boiler room, which was the other side of the wall of the kitchen. You can only imagine the chatting, laughter and celebrations that went on in this room. We exited through a window in the dining hall as all the doors were blocked with brambles or just locked up.
RAF West Raynham is an abandoned RAF air base in the heart of Norfolk. It was opened in 1939 after an expansion of the RAF in the UK. It is made up of a grassed airstrip, technical site, hangars, a bomb store, accomodation blocks and two concrete runways. It lies abandoned and partly derelict now but is an almost complete example of a pre World War Two aerodrome as it is well preserved and most buildings have survived. It was used during WW2 as a bomber command airfield. RAF Great Massingham and Sculthorpe were built nearby soon after in support of Raynham.
In 1942, squadrons 180 and 342 were formed at West Raynham. The 180 Squadron was equipped with North American B-25 Mitchells and based at RAF Great Massingham. Squadron 342 was provided with Douglas Bostons and crewed by Frenchmen in early 1943, and was later relocated to RAF Sculthorpe. In 1943, the station was taken over by 100 Group who specialised in Electronic Countermeasures, who brought 141 and 239 squadrons to RAF West Raynham. They were equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito fighter aircraft which provided support to bomber sorties in enemy air space. They were based at West Raynham until the end of the war; their duties involved flying Serrate patrols and Ranger sorties (seek and destroy enemy fighters in the air and on the ground). Towards the end of the war the base was used for very heavy bombers and the control tower was built. After the war it became the RAF's premier fighter station. The Central Fighter Establishment were stationed here, whose primary role was training fighter and bomber pilots and crews.
In the late 1950s there were at least two operational Gloster Meteor jet fighters, a squadron of twin tail-boomed de Havilland Venoms and de Havilland Vampire trainer jets. The very latest arrival in 1957 was a flight of Gloster Javelins, which also appeared at the Farnborough Airshow the same year. In 1964 a tripartite squadron, comprising members of the British, American and German armed forces, was formed at West Raynham to evaluate the Hawker P.1127 Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) strike fighter aircraft. In the mid-1960s, the East side of the airfield was developed as a SAM site, equipped with the Bristol Bloodhound Mk2 and its associated radars.
In 1975, 85 Squadron made their headquarters at West Raynham after being reformed as a Bristol Bloodhound Mark II surface-to-air missile unit. 85 Squadron remained at West Raynham until it was disbanded on 10 July 1991.
The site was closed in 1994 and was held by the MOD until 2004. The housing on the base has been refurbished and sold off and the technical area of the site has been converted to a business park with the C-Type hangars being used for industrial purposes. The officers mess, Airmen's restaurant and accommodation blocks remain derelict. We were able to roam freely around the site to take the photos below but we couldn't get into any of the accommodation blocks or many of the buildings. I only managed to get into what I believe is the boiler room, which remains in pretty good condition, the boilers, tanks and controls are still there. The only tell-tale sign of it no longer being in service is the peeling paint on the walls and the layers of dust everywhere! I saw the Sports and Social club, the Chapel, the restaurant, the accomodation blocks, some of which appear to be in use for businesses, as well as unknown (to me) buildings and storehouses, but all were securely locked thankfully. I found it quite eerie and scary wandering around where many people once stood! We managed to find our way to the control tower from across the runway but as it is now residential, we declined to go any further. The roads around the site are very good because there are various businesses on site, some occupy the hangars and warehouse buildings near the runways, with others just dotted about in the old buildings. Perhaps another visit is in order to explore further, as we only touched the surface! The pictures below were taken in August 2019.
Castle Acre village is home to their very own castle, although now laid to ruin. It was built soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066 by William de Warenne who was given the land, and was intended to be a fine stone-built fortified house for himself and his family and included a planned settlement in the town. His son and descendants laid out the town and founded the priory. The castle's defences were strengthened in the 12th century, turning it into a great tower and fortress. It had a large moat, a gatehouse, a large keep, which was converted into the main house and tower, a chapel, stables and houses. It was strengthened during the wars between King Stephen and Queen Maud (around 1140) into a more martial stone keep, protected by stone curtain walls and an elaborate system of earthworks, which still exist today. William de Warenne's descendants lived at the castle throughout the 13th century but by the Middle Ages the castle fell out of favour due to the disbandment of the monasteries and was abandoned and left to ruin after King Henry VII ordered that the defenses be demolished after the owners failed to obtain a royal assent for the planned fortification of the defenses. The remains of it today are protected by the English Heritage and is one of the finest historical castle ruins in the country. It is a popular visitors spot in the quaint Norfolk village.
Leziate Sailing Club was a fine venue at the waters edge of Leziate park with outstanding views and an excellent reputation. It had a grand marquee-style function room with large windows and elegant drapes opening out onto a balcony with steps leading down to the beautiful wooded garden and lake. Overlooking the lake, the club hosted watersports and had two all-weather tennis courts, frequented by locals and visitors alike. Once a popular weddings and party venue, the club changed hands in 2012 and sadly went into administration in 2016 after suffering bad reviews and poor service. It was closed for good and left derelict for a couple of years until it was sadly ravaged by fire in the summer of 2018. The site now has planning permission for 7 new homes. I have fond memories of that place. My sister and her husband were the first couple to be married at the venue, we had work parties there, and the last time I was there I said a fond farewell to a dear work colleague who sadly passed away. Leziate Sailing Club has good memories for me as I'm sure it has for many other people who ever visited. It's sad to see it completely devastated, never to be seen again.
This church lays in ruins on the Royal Sandringham Estate in rural Norfolk. You can see it from the road travelling from Hillington towards Sandringham, sitting atop a hill. Once a bustling medieval settlement, all that remains is the round towered church. It dates back to Norman times, but possibly even earlier Saxon times. The village of Appleton was gradually abandoned during medieval times. The land was bought in 1602 which suggests that the village had disappeared in the early 17th century. The village had a tunnel, a cell, a holy well, a moat, a double moated hall and a manor house as well as substantial farmland.
Today it has protected status of a scheduled monument. It was recently tidied and cleared after suffering years of being overgrown and the ruins now sit tidily on the hill overlooking West Newton.