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Report - - Guillemont Barracks Running Track | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Guillemont Barracks Running Track


Natrix

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
My first post and a bit different to normal but I hope you like it.

Guillemont Barracks were built in 1938. Covering 13.7ha, they were named after the German-held village of Guillemont, which was retaken by British Empire Forces, in September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. The West Nova Scotia Regiment arrived at the barracks on January 1, 1940 the Canadian Fusiliers Mont-Royal Regiment, part of the Canadian 5th Brigade, were stationed at the barracks in late 1940. King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon inspected the troops on March 26, 1941. The Training Regiment of The Royal Engineers were based there from 1954 until at least 1981.

The Guillemont Barracks site was purchased by Sun Microsystems in 1997 for £36m. Sun Microsystems intended to build 5 office buildings on the site, but after two phases were complete and the dot com bubble bursting in 2000, phase 3 was halted mid-build (the steel superstructure of the last two buildings, that weren't completed, remained until March 2015). With the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation in 2009 business and staff were relocated to Oracle's Headquarters in Thames Valley Park, Reading. It is now (2019) being covered with houses.

Some historical records also use the spelling Guillemot (missing the 'n')

The 440 yard, 6 lane cinder running track was associated with the former Guillemont Barracks which were situated adjacent to what is now junction 4A of the M3. The track and ground was built between 1947 and 1949 by the 3rd regiment of the Royal Engineers and is known as Thompson's Field after their commanding officer - Lieutenant-Colonel G. Thompson.D.S.O. O.B.E.

It was believed to have been used regularly until 1955 when the then cinder track at Aldershot Military Stadium opened. It was however still used by the Army for competitions until about 1970 and occasionally by the Aldershot, Farnham & District AC training group up until about 1972. The track still exists but has laid dormant for years and has largely been engulfed by nature.

The track area is outside the Sun Microsystems / housing area and is essentially now part of woodland. In summer of 2001, only what were roughly lanes 3 and 4 of the track were still visible but the other lanes were largely overgrown and there were only a couple of places where the full width of the track was still visible

In 2003, a fair amount of overgrowth had been cut back by persons unknown and the surface of the visible track area was akin to a dirt trail and just about usable for distance running although it tended to be quite muddy round the first bend. Due to the overgrowth it was not possible to see from one side of the track to the other although what was the infield was mainly clear. The only field-event facility still intact was one discus circle which was actually technically usable although there was no cage of course. The remnants of a sand pit could be found at the other end of the track. There was concrete terracing down the home straight which is the one further from the old Sun offices and this terracing is just about visible in parts. Similarly the low perimeter fence around the track is still largely in place. At the southern end of the home straight there is a slight extension to the straight here and this was presumably where the start/finish line was. There also seems to have been some sort of pavilion by the side of the track here as the stone base of a building is visible and a small building is shown on the OS 1:10,000 map at this location.

Visiting in 2019 the discus circle is just about distinguishable but very overgrown and the sand pit could not be found. Whoever cut back the vegetation between 2001 and 2003 has not returned recently and the track is appreciably narrower, although not completely overgrown.

Trees have encroached on the centre field, although the local rabbits and deer have kept the grass trimmed.

Freely accessible to the public it is an interesting example of how nature quickly reclaims the built environment.

If you close your eyes and listen carefully you can hear the feint roar of the crowds as they cheer the runners on………………..

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OS Map

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Centre 2001

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Discus ring 2001

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Sand pit 2001

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Track 2001

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Centre 2019

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Railings 2019

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Track 2019

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Terraces 2019

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Terraces 2019

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Deer in the distance
 

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