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Report - - North Weald Bassett Redoubt/Mobilisation Centre, Essex - October 2018 | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - North Weald Bassett Redoubt/Mobilisation Centre, Essex - October 2018



The_Driver

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Introduction
Being my first explore for a good few years, I wanted to do this properly, even if it was a fairly simple explore. Research and recce'ing it, so the explore itself would be as easy as possible. Spent an evenings on Google Maps, reading reports and decided to recce the next day (along with the POW camp at Hatfield Heath, as it was relatively near) to see where to park and if the area was fairly built-up/overlooked by anything. Everything seemed very straight forward with the way I was intending to gain access and the only potential issue I could see was that it seemed to be a hotspot for dog walkers (on the day of the explore we counted nine walking the perimeter). Pictures were taken using only my phone, so apologies in advance, however I was pleasantly surprised with a few that managed to capture just how colourful it was there.

History
Seen this place in 2 or 3 threads on here already, so I won't delve too deeply into that, and slayaaa comprehensively and fantastically covered that in his report in December 2014. Basically between 1889-1903, mobilisation centres were built as part of a 'London Defence Scheme', to house ammunition, guns, tools, and anything else required by the local batteries. This is the only mobilisation centre north of the Thames, and it was the first one constructed. In 1920 the Marconi Company bought it and established the Ongar Radio Station, and control was passed amongst a variety of companies before being sold to property developers in 1995. Apparently some level of preservation was promised but ultimately it doesn't look like anything has happened in that regard.

The Explore
Access was gained very easily via the route I had planned out, and we were in undisturbed. I will come back to something later on regarding access too...
Getting to the fort via the access was a bit trial and error, as the vicinity is very overgrown so it was a case of finding a gap in the bushes - most of which contained pretty big thorns - to get through and over the two small hills before the fort. After an encounter in some long grass with a Hare which I initially mistook for a dog as it was so bloody huge, we arrived at the Fort.
I was aware that one part of the fort was properly flooded/submerged so I wasn't expecting that to be accessible. It hadn't rained for 5 or 6 days beforehand so I was hopeful the northern part of the fort wouldn't be flooded too, as I'd seen pictures of it. Luckily for us it was accessible, as were all of the visible rooms and most tunnels of that part. One thing that surprised me was just how colourful the graffiti is there, none of it appears to have faded seemingly at all over the years. Combined with the autumn leaves clear blue sky, for an old abandoned fort it was anything but dull! We moved across to the Allen Williams turret and the old radio pylon on the ground to the East. I don't know why but one thing that surprised me was that all of the tethers/cabling that would have been attached to the pylon remained laying on the ground. Maybe I'm just used to asylums and hospitals where any form of cabling is usually one of the first things to go. We then move around to the bridge and the submerged part of the fort which was....well, submerged. Needless to say I shall come back during the summer of 2019 whenever we have a dry spell and see if this part is accessible.

A disappointing thing that stood out for me was the sheer amount of fresh litter there. It appears to be a popular spot for some of North Wealds finest little cherrubs judging by the amount of sodding energy drink cans and laughing gas pods around the place. Then I saw how said suspected cherrubs have been gaining access. I'll try to be as vague as I can here, but unfortunately someone has decided to 'adjust' a piece of the metal fencing surrounding the place rather obviously. Unfortunately I imagine it won't be too long before one of them injures themselves or does something stupid and the owners then (try to) properly seal the place up.

After one more once-over of the place, including checking out the remains of the car in the tunnel, we vacated the premises. Before heading home we wandered around the perimeter, over to the old railway line (coincidentally as a steam train was coming past) and radio tower. All in all a simple yet fun morning explore, which is exactly what I wanted for my first one in a while.
Cheers!

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It was a fantastically clear sky on Sunday.
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