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Report - Butter Hill GPSS PSD, Chester - October '11

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Xan_Asmodi, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
    Regular User

    Feb 18, 2011
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    Visited with Sim2Lew


    This site has been one that I've had my eye on for a while, almost as long as I've been interested in Carlett Park PSD. I've been looking at this on Google Maps for a while after finding it while looking for another site nearby.

    Itching to get out after a long week, I text Lew to see if he was up for something. "Have you got a bike?" was one of my first questions. Lew said he was available and we headed off to Chester. We got to Bache and headed along to the Shorpshire Union Canal; Lew huffing and puffing his way through the end of a chest infection. LoL!


    The Government Pipeline and Storage System (GPSS) is managed by the Oil and Pipelines Agency (OPA) on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence. These facilities are constructed and maintained under powers derived from the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act 1945 and 1948, and the Land Powers (Defence) Act 1958. [The] OPA, on behalf of the Secretary of State, employs facilities management contractors to operate different parts of the GPSS.

    As an integral part of the infrastructure of national defence, GPSS has few visible or geographical manifestations. In this respect, it remains very much a part of the hidden military geography of the UK. Many large storage depots only began ‘appearing’ on Ordnance Survey maps within the last decade in response to a softening in the British government’s attitude to potentially sensitive geographic information. Recent aerial and satellite photographs reveal field-sized enclosures, sets of uniformly circular mounds and undulations suggesting buried tanks and sub-surface facilities. Some are quite pronounced such as the one at Killingholme, Humberside, within the Lindsey Oil Refinery complex, while others are small and barely discernable even from the air. Similarly, Padworth Common (which is adjacent to AWE Aldermaston), is studded with subtle undulations, tiny out-buildings and slip-roads that seemingly lead to nowhere. Like many military establishments they are accessed by prior invitation only. Rusty fences and padlocked gates usually prevent any unsolicited attention and some sites seem thoroughly neglected despite occasional visit from private security contractors. The existence of GPSS storage depots is not a secret but it is one of the most visually unobtrusive and least known aspects of military planning or infrastructure.

    Adapted from my Carlett Park PSD report
    According to Alan Turnbull's Secret Bases website, this site formed part of the Furness Vale underground pipeline, that runs between Backford GPSS PSD just south of Stanlow oil refinery and the PSDs at Rawcliffe Bridge and Killingholme on Humberside.

    The only time this site has been reported on 28DL, it was by bandwagon in 2007. Since then the site has been pikey'd with the counter balances on hatches have been weighed in for scrap, the buildings have been pulled down and there are guard cows on the loose. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! :thumb


    The first part of the site we photographed was the bridge over the canal. Notice the reassuring wooden boards at the top

    Spot the explorer

    Pipe pr0n



    Up top

    Down to the depths


    Looking back up top


    Looking back to the mothership

    Guard cows!

    At this point we decided to see what was down one of the hatches. I lifted the lid - quite a task given the lack of counter balance. Lew headed down first armed with my trusty LED Lenser as it looked quite a squeeze. Upon reaching the bottom he called back up saying he'd found a room "must be at least 30 foot by 30 foot". Having not taken his camera down, he headed back up and I went down. When I was on the ladder I decided to ask him to pass me my camera.

    I got down and had a poke around. Almost immediately I spotted what Lew was referring to. I'd seen tanks like this when I went to Bromborough PSD when I was about 15. It reminds me of a reservoir.

    (Sorry about the quality of some of these pics. My camera decided to throw a wobbler)

    The Hole

    Looking up




    At this point we decided to head home. We got on our bikes and headed back to Bache station. This place is more pikey'd than Carlett Park PSD, but more win for seeing the tank.

    This is a good chilled out explore. I have to thanks the guys at airfieldinformationexchange.org for providing the basis for my research.

    As usual, there are more pics on my site
    Thanks for looking :thumb

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