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Results of the archaeology survey

All of our archaeology results are present within a data structure report and have been submitted to the relevant archives. Below is a summary of the archaeological survey, which will give you an idea about the type of structures we have working with. The results of the archaeological survey show a large range of structures, some of which are in relatively good condition, whilst others are very poor. Structures include; dispersal pens (possible Blenheim type), an engine testing house, water tanks, sheds, latrine blocks, Romney Huts, rectilinear blast banks, ‘U’ shaped blast banks, Nissen Huts, hangars, a concrete water tank, a test firing butt, a control tower, air raid shelters, scramble shelters and workshops. There are also a number of buildings whose purpose is less clear, but it seems likely they were used for training and accommodation purposes. Many areas of the site have become overgrown and this vegetation not only hides the archaeology, but may also be damaging it. A few areas have already been covered over or re-used for other purposes, e.g. Area D, which is located at the north side of the airfield. From previous airfield plans it is possible to identify 35 possible structures in Area D, but a large proportion of the eastern part of this area has been destroyed and is now sat underneath a large, modern, potato storage shed. Now only eleven structures are identifiable. There is scope to do more detailed surveying work on the site, especially if currently overgrown areas are cleared and access is gained. This would allow us to build up a more detailed picture of the nature of the buildings on site and also their condition. More information about the findings in each area is available below:

Area A

Area A is located in the south east quadrant of the airfield. Previous plans have shown the potential for 37 structures in the area. During the survey 28 structures were identified. Of the structures that survive in Area A, there are a large variety of types. The structures consisted of a dispersal pen (possible Blenheim type), an engine testing house, two water tanks, one shed, one latrine block, one Romney Hut, two rectilinear blast banks, two ‘U’ shaped blast banks, ten Nissen Huts, and seven buildings of unknown function. This complex of structures may have been an area of accommodation units and training facilities.

Area B

Area B is located in the south west quadrant of the airfield. Previous airfield plans have identified the potential for eight structures within this area and the survey identified four structures still remaining. Of the structures that remain there is a very well preserved Type S Mainhill Hangar, along with two ‘U’ shaped blast banks, and a square brick structure of unknown function. The preservation of the hangar and brick building is very good, whilst the blast bank sites are both fairly denuded and heavily overgrown. As with Area A, these blast banks may have originally acted as dispersal pens, or as protected hard standing areas for hangars no longer in existence. Area B’s likely function was for the storage/dispersal of aircraft.

Area C

Area C is located in the south west quadrant of the airfield, slightly to the north west of Area B. Previous airfield plans have identified the potential for eighteen structures in this area, however the majority of the northern section of Area C has been heavily bulldozed, with no visible remains of a number of the buildings. During the survey only three structures were identified; the heavily corroded remains of a Type S Mainhill Hangar; an overgrown ‘U’ shaped blast bank; and a very well preserved, small brick built building with a pitched roof. The brick building was visible, but not accessible during the survey due to its location within woodland, however its preservation suggests that some of more of the structures located in the woodland may have also survived. Previous plans of the airfield indicate that Area C’s purpose was likely to have originally been multifunctional, with an ability to provide storage/dispersal for a small number of aircraft, whilst also housing a variety of buildings, potentially used as accommodation or training facilities.

Area D

Area D is located at the north side of the airfield. From previous airfield plans it is possible to identify 35 possible structures in Area D. A large proportion of the eastern part of this area has, however, been destroyed and is now sat underneath a large, modern, potato storage shed. During the survey eleven structures were identified. Of these, eight were blast banks, the majority ‘U’ shaped. A small collection of Nissen Huts were identifiable, however they could not be accessed. They appeared to be in a fairly ruinous state. The other two surviving structures consisted of a circular concrete water tank, and a large, brick built Test Firing Butt in a very good state of repair, now used as hay storage. The main function for this part of the airfield appears to have been aircraft storage/dispersal, with the vast majority of remaining structures being blast banks. The vast majority of structures identified on previous airfield plans but now destroyed also appear to have been blast banks/dispersal pens.

Area E

Area E is located in the far north west of the airfield, and is in isolation from the other complexes. It consists of a small collection of buildings, mostly in good state of repair. Previous airfield plans identify the potential for eight structures in this part of the airfield. It is identified on Canmore as the bomb storage area. During the survey the south west quadrant of the area was inaccessible; however one of the structures was visible. Six structures were identified, with two rectangular brick buildings that were likely accommodation blocks. They are in very good condition and are now being used as animal shelters. Three other structures, all in good condition, were the likely bomb/munitions storage areas, all of which are heavily protected by surrounding blast banks. The final identifiable structure in this area is heavily damaged and located abreast the southern access road into the area. It possibly served originally as the tractor storage shed, with the tractors used to transport the bombs from the bomb stores to the waiting planes.

Area F

Area F is located to the west side of the airfield between Areas C and E. It is accessible from two service roads running from the main runway complex and previous airfield plans have shown it to consist of four Blast Bank/Dispersal Pens, along with three small buildings. During the survey it was revealed that the area has been heavily truncated by more recent earthworks, and that the majority of the site locations are heavily overgrown with vegetation. Further survey work will be required in this area to determine the true preservation of the sites located here. From the information available from the previous airfield plans it would appear that this part of the airfield was originally used for aircraft dispersal/protection.

Area G

Area G is located at the main entrance to the airfield part of this area now forms a modern Industrial Estate. Previous airfield plans show a complex of at least 55 buildings in this area. During the survey limited access was gained in this part of the airfield, however it was possible to see a number of structures in very good condition. Many have been preserved and are now used as buildings within the Industrial complex, whilst it was also evident that the former Control Tower is being converted into a residential dwelling. Although access was limited it was possible to discern a number of building types in this area including Type ‘S’ Mainhill hangar, air raid shelters, scramble shelters and workshops. If access were granted, further survey of this part of the airfield could prove invaluable due to the level of preservation visible here.