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Report - Thorp Arch Royal Ordnance Depot, Dec 11

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by redandy, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. redandy

    redandy 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Hi all, I’m Andy. A long time lurker but never posted owt. That’s largely cos I haven’t been anywhere interesting like you fellows – I honestly have great respect for the bravery (and stupidity in some cases! :crazy) of some of the explores that you all do. Also, some of your camera work is astounding – seriously enter it for some competitions of something. Since discovering 28DL in June, I have lost about 3 hours a day just reading the archives of this website. Honestly the wife is sick of me spending all my time on it! I epically love this website and the entire concept of it. It’s really touched me. :Not Worthy

    SO I thought it was time to give a pathetic little something back. I hope I have obeyed all the rules of posting - apologies if not - mods may edit my content then thrash me with bamboo sticks. :gay

    On one of my days off (that’s days off from this website, not day off work!) she decided we need a new carpet for the house we’re renting in Wetherby, nr Leeds. I don’t know the area too well (I’m not local) so I ask at work and they tell me there’s a cheap carpet place down the road at Thorp Arch trading estate, plus a great play area for the kids. OK says I, jump in the car and it was literally 5 mins away, just off A168 between Wetherby & Tadcaster.

    Opon arrival it was immediately obvious that this was no ordinary M62 tin shed industrial estate. The Pill box at the entrance made that abundantly clear! A quick drive around the streets it was obviously a military site: straight roads named only “Street 1â€, Street 2†etc, and cross roads named only “Avenue 1†and “Avenue2†etc. A typical “army†brickwork and feel for the long, low buildings… and then I saw IT!

    A grass mound with ventilation shafts atop! “oooh! A bunker!†I shouted excitedly. “uh?†said a very uninterested wife. “Look! look!†I exclaimed. “Oh for f888s sake†she says “can’t get away from this exploring thing can you?!â€

    We pulled in to the car park and I was immediately impressed: all the shops are located within the ammo depot bunkers! How mint is that?! We quickly ran around on top of the shops until we were asked not to (oops!) by the nice friendly man with an alsation. I don’t think he was official security – rather just someone walking the hound – but he did point out that they are a bit iffy when it comes to collapsing! We decided that staying at ground level and gawping would probably be a sensible idea.

    So I dumped the kids on the playground (excellent facility by the way – if you have kids and are local you MUST go!), she went to look for carpets and allowed me to go off and do my “perspex thingâ€. “It’s Urbex, dear, it’s urbexâ€. I went for a walk….

    Immediately obvious that I should have brought my camera – I only had the camera phone (HTC wildfire – do not purchase on it’s rubbish) which was totally out of its depth in capturing the mood.

    Speaking of which she was in one now cos I had vanished for over an hour when I only said I’d be 10 mins (how gullible are chicks?!).

    There are several sections that are barriered off – so I respected that and didn’t enter anything. Not that I needed to as there is tons of other stuff that is just open anyway for a gander. Now lots of the bunkers and buildings are in use by small firms, and these are mixed in with the open/derelict/empty ones, but often as everything is roller shuttered up and a bit unkept anyway it’s often hard to tell which Is which! So I just had a walk around and didn’t try to poke my nose anywhere other than just soaking up the atmosphere.

    Apologies for the photos – the phone simply cannot capture the place – you HAVE to visit.

    Mainly it’s a regimented series of earth blast banks with concrete access roads – mostly overgrown and returning to nature. Occasionally there are breaks in the banking to give access to the building inside. A lot of it is samey – it’s the size and the abandonment that impressed me rather than the architecture or left over missiles or anything like that. Looking at the aerial photos when I got home I worked out I had driven around ½ of it and walked around 1/8 of it. The place must’ve been immense in its heyday.

    Wikipedia has a small entry on Thorp Arch – not much though. Apparently it was a major munitions depot – Royal Ordnance job. Similar to Newton Aycliffe nr Darlington which is also now an industrial estate apparently, though not like this one. Other urbex sites have some more info – but this is one of those “must visit to appreciate itâ€. There’s nothing there that’s AMAZING – it’s just a lot of it and all pretty accessible. The wife can also shop, the kids play and there’s a Lotus specialist for some automotive eye candy. The British library is there too – in fact it’s a great day out for all the family!

    I also found out that if you follow the adjacent former railway line south of the industrial estate there’s supposed to be a fine stone viaduct and on the opposite side of the river an abandoned paper factory (Papyrus works) which might float someone’s boat? And if that’s not enough, the town of Tadcaster is a fine stone market town, but much of it is empty and boarded up because (so I’m told!) the local Lord won’t allow anyone to open up one of his shops if he’s not married, no women can open shops, and forget it if your skin is anything other than pasty white! I don’t know if this is true or not, but for sure there’s some great explores to have – another viaduct, some beautiful half-timbered gatehouses, loads of shops/houses in various states of empty/derelict…

    After leaving (without a carpet!) we went to Harrogate to finish shopping. But they had a power cut and it was weird – I’d just been to this derelict ammo dump bunker complex – very post-apocalypse with all the overgrown brambly stuff – and there we are in a major town, no lights, no power, no phone signal…. My imagination went nuts and I was buying crates of bottled water, tinned food, batteries, candles etc etc etc…!!!! ha ha ha!



    Random reinforced factory unit

    inside a vacant shop/bunker

    inside an occupied bunker/shop - substantially disappointing

    abandoned bunker entrance

    abandoned bunker inside loading bay

    abandoned bunker entrance #2

    Concrete room thing- not pillbox as there's no gun holes. Maybe plant room?

    more pics here:

    Attached Files:

    #1 redandy, Dec 20, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011

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