Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Some Randome Pillboxes

I call them random ans they do not seem to form any part of a stopline as such more for defense. Where do I start? most of the random ones came from Wales so I will start with one of my Favorites which is a Vickers post just outside Builth Wells.
This one seems to over look a golf course and seems t face away from the nearby bridge. I saw it posted by a late colleague off Geograph and I just had to visit.
Entrance was down these steps

and inside were three gun tables, might add it was clean and dry which was more than Phil Jones found as it was full of water

You have to love the embrasure on a Vickers post

Though the view out was not so good with the grass growing

It's worth stopping off at Builth war memorial where you can see this Allen Williams turret on display, restored by local cadet force.
The next pillbox I found looking at the DOB on my digital maps took some tracking down on Google earth but it existed so I set off to get a photo. It originally over looked a rail bridge that crossed the river Wye but as Beaching closed the line down the bridge was removed now the pillbox watches the sheep.

This view is from the pillbox top towards the river Wye, the old railway runs to the left of the photo.

The entrance was beside the railway and was a stoop down to get in.

Inside you had to watch your head as the corrugated iron shuttering had rusted away and was dropping down so could have shaved your head.

Most unusual feature was the high ricochet wall which I had not come across before.

But there were original features left to see.

The last one to see from Wales is in the Elan Valley overlooking one of the dams. The photo was taken using a 200mm zoom lens and I was lucky the trees had been cleared or I doubt it would have been see at all.

Looking at the stile which is Type22 it would have been built similar to the last one and probably by the same company. I did not try to visit though it does not look that easy to get to even if I wanted to.
The last pillbox is just outside Faringdon in Oxfordshre and had made the local papers because some one left a bucket with black power inside so the local kids who went in there for a quick smoke found out when it went off after they dropped the fag in it and the powder ignited. They were injured needless to say but nothing could be proved against the suspect.

This is looking down the old London road into Faringdon,, the pillbox is over to the right.

Closer shot of the external which is showing some signs of erosion.

The entrance had shield wall which was cracking away

that lead down and inside to a decorated pillbox.

Here we look up the London road past the Folly which is over to the right.  That we thought was it but a little further up the road we spotted this.

Some anti tank cylinders which had been used as gateposts, and ingenious way of recycling old WW2 defenses.

There were even more on the opposite side of the road

These would have been used to make a barrier along the road and there was about the right number to do this.

I have come across a few other lone pillboxes but they have been off stoplines or formed part of airfield defenses. Our history is all around us you just have to look.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Wilts & Berks Canal Part 2

The photos in both parts were taken over 3 years ago so I have no doubt some of the places will have changed.
On this walk we started at Childrey Wharf and worked back to Wantage  and I was pleased to see that some sections had been restored and parts were still being worked on.

Part of the restored canal looking towards where work is going on.

Sure this was the wharf as there is what looks like the remains of a building nearby.

This is part which has yet to be restored and where it feeds into. There would have been a bridge here once.

Heading back to where the workings are this was the area being worked on. This photo was taken nearly 3 years ago so may well have changed by now.

Further along in West Challow you find the canal has again been partly restored for a little way.

You can also see the remains of where the old bridge was. it was culverted in 1948 and was done by A.F Ackrill & Son 1948 as the name and date is in the cement.

Further along towards the road you find the canal is back to being overgrown with weeds and the bridge that was there removed.

Going towards East Challow you find the canal is very overgrown though you do come across a lock on the way

 and a bridge nearer Challow.

This would have been a lift bridge once.

This building was an iron works once and would have used the canal.

This point is where the canal went under the bridge but it's long gone and a house sits  where the canal went.

From Challow to Grove most of the canal is still there, though when you get to grove it is filled in by the track leading to the old airfield just past that there is another section.


This is in a cutting and comes out by a lock where a few parts of the walls remain.

Not much to see though I can't see what else it could have been.

From there is is filled in and lost from view apart from a line of trees marking where it would have been.

Just past the road you find and area where the canal would have had a basin for the spur into Wantage.

It would the canal carried on to a lock which was over by the path in the distance and then on to Abingdon. I followed the path back into Wantage where the spur went.

Thats it for my two canal walks though I do still have to reconstruct where the section to Abingdon ran. Restoration work is going on with the Wilts and Berks canal in the hope to reopen it in the future for leisure purposes but there is a lot to do. I do intend to trace other parts when I get the chance and look forwards to seeing the restored parts.