The remains of RAF Woolfox Lodge lay to the east of the A1, just north of Stamford. The Runways have long since been taken up, they were used as hardcore for upgrade work to the A1 carriageways, but a significant amount of buildings, including the old control tower remain, so I headed over for an explore.
There are plans to build 10,000 homes on this old airfield, but I’m hoping some of the buildings will be preserved.
This tower has been significantly modified with bricked up windows, additional walls and even a wood burner and fireplace installed.
All of the buildings I explored were in a very poor condition, suffering from major structural failures that looked to be more from tree roots than subsidence. Access to the second floor was a bit of a challenge as well.
The airfield housed Bloodhound surface to air missiles during the cold war and was a sister site to RAF North Luffenham where three Thor nuclear deterrent missiles were situated.
There was no easy access to the crumbling observation deck as the upstairs observation windows have all been bricked up, making the inside a dark and damp space.
Rooftop access ladder/steps were missing from the Northern elevation, with the gap in the rails below showing where they used to be.
This solitary two storey chimney stack stands to the east of the control tower, the only trace of the buildings that were immediately surrounding it are the concrete bases.
The building to the north of the control tower is in an extremely unstable state with a huge split in the wall as it has been pushed in by the tree growing right up against the other side. The lintel above the door hangs on by just a few millimetres, enough to make entering the doorway something you do quickly and quietly, touching nothing.
RAF Kings Cliffe is famous for being the location of the last airfield band concert played by Glenn Miller and his band on October 3rd 1944; Glenn’s plane disappeared in bad weather a few months later on December 15th over the English Channel. A monument stands 800m south of the control tower in the footprint of the long since demolished hangar.
Very similar to the control tower at RAF Witham in appearance, layout and condition, the Kings Cliffe tower is not quite so elevated, probably due to the airfield being on a more level plane. Not having the basement level also provides much easier access, no climbing necessary to gain entry here.
The bricks are crumbling away with at least one of the window lintels very much on borrowed time. Access to the roof viewing area has also rusted away, laying in heap on the eastern side of the tower, although a roof hatch looks to provide promising and safer access, but I left that for a future explore.
Inside is very much open plan as most of the first floor dividing walls have been lost to either erosion or more likely vandals.
The observation deck is still able to fulfil its original purpose whilst I take a few minutes out and watch a solitary red kite patrol the sky.
Hidden in the depths of Twyford Woods in Lincolnshire are the remnants of RAF North Witham. At first glance from Google earth it’s just a triangular configuration of runways, but tucked in amongst the tree’s that have grown up since its closure over 60 years ago, are the remains of the two storey control tower.
Little more than a shell, the building is slowly crumbling into dust, the access steps to the rooftop viewing platform have long since rusted away, along with the guard rails. Fragile straw like stalactites hang from cracks in the ceiling, dripping onto tennis balls sized calcite deposits mirroring them on the floor.
The top floor has a viewing balcony that now sits below the top of the tree canopy and so I had to imagine views of the runways. I soon found myself picturing the Douglas C-47’s heading off to play their crucial pathfinder role in D-Day, today though, it’s a wonderfully peaceful spot to add to my list of favourite places.
Several of the anchor pictures gracing these pages are from the former RAF North Luffenham site. I grew up through the cold war so the significance of this site is very real living history for me, having been the home of three USAF Thor ballistic missiles, part of a network of sites that combined to provide our nuclear deterrent.
This site is earmarked for closure and redevelopment into many thousands of homes over the coming decade, I hope to record and monitor the site throughout this period. From the project Emily triangulation posts to the reinforced launch platforms themselves.
Thankfully these pieces of our history have already gained Grade 2 protected status from Historic England.
So this is it, my first post and so it must be about this, my WordPress site, how it runs, and what it’s running on.
Created in December 2018 because… well, just because.
Hosted on a Raspberry Pi 3+ with a wired PoE connection that is running this from a Rasbpian Stretch distribution. Nginx, MariaSQL, PHP and WordPress are all running from this guide. The only issue I had following it was with the domain name and something automagically adding a www prefix, but Google was my friend in getting that sorted. Note to self – always read guides thoroughly before hacking at the keyboard.
Dynamic DNS is setup via FreeDNS with a curl job keeping it updated. As is also on both the MotionEye Webcam and the Flight Aware receiver. Each keeping their own cctv and skyview sub domain names registered every five minutes.
All my sites are now running through this Nginx reverse proxy server that is also handling the Let’s Encrypt website SSL certificate renewals via CertBot.
With this site I’m also experimenting with the Dynamic DNS service offering, as this is something my BT Hub supports internally.
I also have a PiSupply PiJuice UPS HAT from a kickstarter project I backed some years ago. I plan to install this next, once it’s been tested to provide power protection to this device and it’s configuration.