August 18, 2010By

Built around 1955 as a Remote Weapons Store for RAFWittering after the airfield changed use over several years from a Fighter Station to a Bomber Command Station, now decommissioned and awaiting ‘Adaptive Reuse’,Collyweston ESA is a fascinating site set deep in the woods with an eerie silence across it, occasionally punctuated by calling Red Kites soaring high above the treetops.A Yarnold Sangar Pillbox with an extra section on it forms part of the gate defences adjacent to a Guard House, Sub Station, Mains Room and Admin buildings, various roadways open up and 10 Bomb Maintenance Buildings are located towards the front of the site, the revetted buildings reportedly for 1000lb High Explosive bombs and Cluster Bomb Units.

Behind this and deep into the compound are rows and rows of explosive storage units: Thirty ‘Dutch Barns’ (some demolished) for storage of BL755 Cluster Bombs (manufactured by Hunting Engineering in Ampthill, Bedfordshire), several more 1000lb HE storage buildings, 68mm SNEB Rocket storage buildings and perhaps the most interesting, nine hardened ‘Igloo’ cells with filtered air supply and totally enclosed electrical supplies. These hardened units were used for storing ‘unspecified’ American explosives from RAF Lakenheath.

Given the size and construction of the Igloo cells compared to the other buildings and the fact they are the farthest away from the RAF Wittering runway, whatever was in these shelters were some serious toys. Contrary to popular theories though, this site was never used for Project E weapons, these type of weapons remained in the Igloos at RAF Wittering SSA as the US Military insisted that such weapons were never dispersed. This caused some conflict with the RAF who would rather have dispersed the V Force at times of high political tension. The SSA at RAF Wittering is still intact, although derelict and the unusual Fissile Core Stores can still be seen. Both the ESA and SSA share common design features and some of the doors are identical at both sites.

The site has also been used for many illegal raves over the years, mainly by the An Watt Sound System on Bank Holiday weekends. The kiddie ravers have left a massive amount of rubbish on site now, it’s down to them that thousands of mini ‘Nangs/Whippits‘ cartridges, NOS balloons and bigger NOS Bottles now carpet most of the site.

I don’t have a problem with illegal raves, been to plenty myself, just clear your shit up when you leave, that’s all…

In recent years ‘travellers’ have helped themselves to miles of 3-phase armoured cable, pipework for the underground fire prevention system and virtually all of the aluminium lamp posts. The Mains Room has been gutted and there’s even been an attempt to remove the Sub Station!

Yarnold Sangar Pillbox

Bomb Maintenance Buildings
BL755 Cluster Bomb Storage

SNEB Rocket Storage
Igloo’s

7 Comments

  1. Mike
    August 28, 2010

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    Great pictures.

  2. Tocsin Bang
    August 31, 2010

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    Thanks….how did you find this blog by the way?

  3. Anonymous
    January 3, 2013

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    I worked here in around 1985-86 was a Dumpie prepping CBU’s, 1000 Lb’ers etc! Worked with Alex McReedy (I think), Gij Parker, and Steve Worral to mention a few.

  4. tocsin_bang
    January 3, 2013

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    Thanks for your comment…..can you throw any light on what the Yanks kept in the igloos?

  5. James Hopwood
    November 2, 2015

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    Can anyone help me out whats the postcode for this place i went to collyweston this weekend and couldn’t find it anyone help me out with a name to put into my sat nav thanks

    • sYnc
      November 2, 2015

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      No postcode 🙂

      Look on Google Earth, you can’t miss it.

  1. Sync_below - Collyweston ESA (RAF Wittering Bomb Store) - Part Two - […] our recent explore at Collyweston ESA (RAF Wittering Bomb Store), the full write up and history can be found…

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