Report - - Hempsted GPSS Oil Depot - Gloucester - October 2020 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hempsted GPSS Oil Depot - Gloucester - October 2020


Camera Drowner
Regular User
Finding this place was purely chance find, I was genuinely expecting a couple of grotty old warehouse buildings and nothing much else. Instead what I found as a hiked over the grassy verge was 5 bunker entrances going off in different directions. Always a goods start!

Finding any proper recorded history on this GPSS Depot site is very hard. Even now after a few days of research it's still somewhat vague. Something something secret ex-MOD site.

The Oil Depot in Gloucester was once part of the old GPSS (Government Pipelines and Storage System) line. A top secret network of oil and fuel pipes that ran across vast section of England connecting to airports and key strategic sites. This site existed since at least 1945, and is probably part of the very original series of GPSS oil depot sites.

The planning for the GPSS line began pre-WW2 and grew in size as WW2 approached. In 1938 the capacity of the system of depot tanks grew from 90,000 tons to 800,000 tons. The actual pipelines that connected the series of depots didn't start being constructed till 1941.

During WW2 many of the more exposed storage depot's were bombed and destroyed. The pipeline was extended to different parts of the country as the war continued into the early 40s. After WW2 the GPSS line was mostly mothballed. The pipeline began being used for commercial use in the 1950s for things like aviation. However when the Cold war started they began to fall back into use for strategic military purposes and as some of the network was recommissioned.

The end of the cold war lead to the GPSS pipeline no longer being an 'Official secret'. Over the following years sections of it were either decommissioned or privatised. In 2012 the UK government officially announced plans to sell off the GPSS network. After this it was renamed to the CLH Pipeline network.

Nowadays the CHL line is known for suppling nearly all major airports with fuel.

The depot in Gloucester seems to be one of the old sites that got decommissioned and has fallen into dereliction. Information on this specific site is scarce, although I believe the site was in use as late as 2010. There are 4 large cylindrical buried tanks which were once connected to the network with a intake for new oil further down the Gloucester canal.

Since it's decommission several applications for re-developing the land have been put in, but the complications with the CHL line running under the site, and of course the question of what to do with 4 massive steel tanks, so it never got anywhere. Work was happening on the site in 2014, but the body that look after the CHL line quickly put a stop to that to prevent risk of damage to the oil pipeline.

At some point after 2015, Hobbs oil/Ford Fuels built a fuel depot right next door and now use the CHL line to provide fuel/oil to local businesses in the South West.


The Explore

A weekend of absolutely piss poor weather didn't dampen our excitement to explore this place, with Me, @mookster, @Lord Oort, @Fluffy and a couple non members.
It's rare to find such a massive military era installation that seems to have been off the radar like this site, despite being in plain view!

It was a fun and easy explore, although waterproofs were absolutely essential.

The main event was the one large tank that was accessible, a couple inches deep in water, but pretty clean. Each of these vast tanks are approx 36m in diameter and about 5m tall, or about 5 million litres of capacity. Quite the echo chamber.

The rest of the site is fairly spread out with some warehouse and storage buildings near to the main road. Just behind these buildings is a second bunker made up of lots of very small rooms all with large steel doors.


We start at the pump room. It was partially flooded and required a revisit the next day with waders to get proper photos inside here! Sadly all the equipment is gone with only the bases of the pumps giving hints to how it may have once looked.

Next we see the only tank that is actually accessible. It was a few inches deep in water, but considering it was once used to store oil it was surprisingly clean.

There are 3 other bunker entrances that lead to the other 3 tanks, but all of them are dead ends.

Now we go over to the other buildings heading towards the main road and near to where the depot connected to the GPSS line.
This first building is part of the foam store, which is foam used for fire-suppression specifically in underground tanks.

Finally the little bunker full of steel doors.

Thanks for reading!
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grumpy sod
Regular User
You really went the extra mile with the research on this little known place, it's a top find. I'm looking forward to returning when the weather is less damp!


Bally up!
Regular User
Lovely jubbly. Photos of that tank in fishy mode are fantastic mate!


• Chief Noob Wrangler •
28DL Full Member
Photos of the tank are killer @Grom even if I’ve already seen it through yours and Oorts photos elsewhere if you know what I mean! Nicely done!

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nice that, reminds me of Sawtry. I do love ya underground shot of the pillars nice one that!

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Tanks look amazing in fisheye. The reflections are great. Fair play for going back and really digging about for history. Good job done here :thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Fantastic photos and write up. I actually visited this place today as it had been on my radar for a while. The history is really interesting, thank you @Grom I had been trying to do a bit of digging and had found almost nothing. Unfortunately I was alone today so pussied out of going Inside anything and as it was getting dark I was very aware of the various holes about the place! Really enjoyed your report


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Just wanted to echo what's been said already really, and thank Mook, Grom and Oort for a cracking day out.
A lot of my photos sadly got corrupt from this day, so unfortunately all I have left is below. Nothing on the standard of Grom, and certainly not worth writing a third report about, so I'll tag them onto the bottom of here if that's alright with everyone :D

@Gunsnrosies I'm heading back here with Grom sometime in the next week or so to replace some of my lost photos. I'm sure you'd be welcome to join us if you want?

All the best...


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member

Did anyone drop a thurnite torch case at the main tank entrance, happy to post it back if needs be..

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