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RAF Chilmark

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Also known as Chilmark Camp, the main site of this decommissioned wartime and Cold War era ammunition and bomb depot straddles the northern Sutton Mandeville parish boundary with Chilmark and Teffont parishes.

In 1965, this was the most important RAF ammunition supply depot in the UK.

The Chilmark stone quarries, mines and the valley ravine extending south towards Ham Cross, were acquired in 1936 by the MOD (Air Ministry) for underground storage of munitions and were used by the RAF up until 1995, when the site closed and supplies were transferred to the NATO depot in Scotland.

Clearance and disposal of explosives continued until 1997, although the possibility of remnants is evidenced by warning signage that can still be seen attached to fencing along the local public footpaths.

This 'Burning Ground' sign is on the bridleway heading north to Chilmark adjoining the old quarry area.

A short rail spur ran from the nearby London-Exeter main railway line, crossing below the Teffont Road near Ley Farm to a large covered platformed shed where munitions were transferred to /from a narrow gauge rail system used to transport goods around the main site and to the quarry caverns. The spur was omitted from Ordnance Survey maps of the era for security reasons.

Chilmark Camp
Map of Chilmark Camp

The transfer shed, engine shed and many of the old MOD storage, maintenance and administrative buildings, have mostly fallen into disrepair, but are still visible from the nearby roads and footpaths.

An overview of the RAF Chilmark site, quarries and location of underground

bunkers (2017 drone footage).

Credit: TheSecretVault

The narrow gauge rail network throughout the site (above ground) has long been dismantled and little remains other than a short section of rail embedded in the road surface where the line crossed the highway into the western quarry area. A 'Give Way /Rail Crossing' sign is still in place here (2021).

This 1994 documentary footage, shows the military narrow gauge railway in operation at Chilmark and in woodland near Dinton.

Credit: Telerail

Further information and photographs taken in 2010 of the underground tunnels can be viewed on the Urban Explorer website.


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