Report - - R.A.F Thurleigh (car graveyard) April15 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - R.A.F Thurleigh (car graveyard) April15

The devil child

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thurleigh (pronounced "thur-lye") was built for RAF Bomber Command in 1940 by W & C French Ltd. 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the village of Thurleigh on farmland between the farms of Buryfields, Bletsoe Park, Manor, and Whitwickgreen. It was eventually modified to Air Ministry Class A airfield specifications, with three converging runways, extended in 1942 to lengths of 6,000 feet (runway 06-24) and 4,200 feet (runways 18-36 and 12-30). Thurleigh was unique among bomber bases in having four T2 type metal hangars where most bases had only two.

Starting in 1946, construction work began on the airfield to turn the site into what became known as the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Bedford. The runway was extended in the post-war period to accommodate the Bristol Brabazon aircraft (which required a very long runway) that ultimately never went into production. One local road was dropped into a cutting so that it would not sit above the level of the runway.
The airfield was decommissioned in February 1994 after a lengthy study determined that flight operations should be centralised at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. Due to the cost and impracticality of relocating the Advanced Flight Simulator system the site retains some of its development work (under the banner of QinetiQ from mid-2001 onwards). As of early 2007, QinetiQ have sold their remaining stake in the Bedford Airfield site (as well as the nearby 'Wind Tunnel' site) and are planning to relocate the remaining staff to Farnborough in early 2008, finally ending the site's long association with military aviation.
The airfield was closed in 1997 with the RAE having become the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). DERA consolidated its experimental flying operations at Boscombe Down, moving aircraft from Farnborough as well as Bedford.

Sitting nose to tail on a disused airstrip, these cars form a tiny part of the massive backlog of vehicles destined for the scrap heap.
The number standing idly on the runway has swelled to around 14,000 as mechanics struggle to cope with the popularity of the Government's scrappage scheme, which ended last week.
The former airfield in Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, is one of a number of 'holding areas' packed with vehicles sold through Lord Mandelson's £400million incentive scheme.

Under the policy, manufacturers matched the £1,000 per car put up by the Treasury - giving customers a £2,000 saving on a new vehicle.
The £28million haul will eventually be sent to a licensed scrappage yard where the cars' oil and petrol will be removed and parts recycled before the shells are crushed.
Almost all of the 400,000 vehicles sold through the scheme are still roadworthy and many could be driven for another five years, according to experts.
However, the vast collection --which includes a fine range of BMWs, Volvos and Peugeots - must be destroyed under the scheme's rules.

This is 1 very cool place to see and at the same time depressing as there is some real classic cars in here left to rot away, visited with a non member we headed over not knowing much about the place if it was accessible if it had security ect. it wasn't the hardest place to get in to by far but while we was there it then soon came apparent there was there was security doing regular patrols of the whole base so keeping low and quiet we ninja'd around the cars having a nose unfortuantly couldnt get to the control tower as we came from the opposite end of the base and that was where the security was so we put our attention to the old motors left over from the scrappage scheme, They aslo store brand new 2015 unregistered vans all waiting to be sold and go to their new homes here as this is pretty much a live site right next to a race course but ther is still parts of the RAF base thats derelict like tower and a few other buildngs dotted about the site which i will be going back and capturing and making a report on the airbase itself this one will be about the waste of good classics tha t really need saving.




















Here's the full set with plenty more pics from the location :)

[URL='https://flic.kr/p/r2xQJQ']Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for looking :thumb
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28DL Regular User
Regular User
Its a good place to explore, and sad to see so many nice motors wasted.

I went in 2010 with DHL and we definitely didn't start 2 land rovers up and drive them around.

As said, this is a -very- live site, and I personally know of one person who got charged with TWOC there, and I have heard of a few others being nicked.
Be careful.


28DL Full Member
Some really good pictures there mate looks a good place to visit as I do like my cars so what's going to happen to them or will they just turn to dust were they stand..

Oxygen Thief

Staff member
I thought this place was long gone to be honest. There's a possibility, looking at the cars there, that the absolute crud has been weighed in, and the better vehicles have been kept?

I can see at least ten cars there I'd like to own. Gutted.

The devil child

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
It is awesome to mooch around but at the same time very depressing seeing some rare and expensive classic's sat here wasting away it is also a pretty high security site too with regular patrols at any time we must have been 3ft away at 1 point hiding under a car near enough we was there 3 hours and only see 30% if that didnt even get to the control tower :(


Stay Safe
Many look better than mine LoL - Looks like some cars have had parts removed already, and potently mega bucks in parts alone if they got their fingers out and dismantled them.
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Lock smith

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Very sad to see then all rotting away there. owners trying to keep older cars on the road won't be happy though. The government promised that to avoid distorting the secondhand parts market these scrapage scheme cars would all be broken up for parts asap, and the parts feed back into the secondhand parts market to avoid a parts shortage & prices going up through a lack of supply.

Great report though


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I get the need to restart the car buying economy, (sort of), and there is without a doubt some total shite in there that needs to be cubed, but for the love of all things classic, why don't they sell off some of the classics and generate even more bunt for the economy, crazy!!

Oh, superb report by the way mate!


28DL Member
28DL Member
Visited the air field in the last week, very interesting place also found it quite scary so many new cars in one place! struggled to find the scrap cars though?


28DL Member
28DL Member
Visited recently and not a single classic car or rust box. Only brand new cars, some registered, some not. Security was very tight, nearly got caught on the runway!

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