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The Historic Environment Record is the primary index about the physical remains of past human activity in the unitary authority of West Berkshire. Not all records are published on the Heritage Gateway. Please read the important guidance on the use of the West Berkshire HER data.

HER Number MWB16501
Record Type Monument
Name Bowdown World War II Bomb Stores, Greenham Common

Grid Reference SU 508 654
Map Sheet SU56NW
Parish Thatcham, West Berkshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap


Area used for bomb storage for adjacent Greenham Common air base during the Second World War and possibly afterwards

Associated Legal Designations or Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and structures of Bowdown Second World War Bomb Stores, north of Greenham Common air base

Monument Type(s):

  • BOMB STORE (Second World War - 1941 AD to 1945 AD?)

Full Description

This area, east of Bowdown House, is marked as 'Bomb Stores' on secret military site plans of 1944 <1><2>, with a key numbering different types of structures (bomb stores, tail unit areas, fuzed and spare bomb stores, component stores, incendiary bomb stores, pyro store and fuzing point building). It was apparently not part of the 1980s RAF/USAF Greenham Common site <3> as it is not numbered on the 1989 plan. The brief survey of the airbase by the Royal Commission <4> marks it as 'Area F' but does not describe its origins or function. It is uncertain whether it continued in military use following the Second World War (for example in the early days of the Cold War during the 1950s); the Greenham Common website <5> includes the Bowdown Woods in a virtual tour of the airbase, noting, 'On the north side of Bury's Bank road is an area known as the 'bomb site', which was used for munitions storage during the Second World War'. The site is managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), and their leaflet about the natural history of the area <6> refers to the bomb site as wartime and post-war munitions area, but it is not known on what evidence this is based.

A site visit in 2004 showed that the bomb storage area contained rows of rectangular earth mounds and bays of low brick walls, but that woodland was invading what had been a cleared area for decades if not hundreds of years <7>. Some brick buildings had apparently been demolished relatively recently.

Sources and further reading

<01>Air Ministry. 1945. Greenham Common - Record Site Plan, Dispersed Sites. Dwg No 4818/44. 1:2500. [Map / SWB13061]
<02>Air Ministry. 1945. Greenham Common - Record Site Plan, Site No 1 Airfield. Dwg No 4817/44. 1:2500. [Map / SWB13060]
<03>Department of the Air Force. 06/09/1988. RAF Greenham Common - Record Site Plan. S 77/89. 1:5000. Not numbered. [Map / SWB14709]
<04>RCHME. 1994. Historic Building Report: Greenham Common Airbase, Greenham, Berkshire. NBR No 93234. Figure 6. [Unpublished document / SWB12267]
<05>Hawkings, D. 2003. Greenham: a common inheritance. http://www.greenham-common.org.uk. Accessed 20/03/2008. [Website / SWB13700]
http://www.greenham-common.org.uk (Accessed 11/01/2012)
<06>Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust. pre 2003. Bowdown Woods Nature Reserve leaflet. [Unpublished document / SWB14708]
<07>Landmark. 1872-85. Digital Ordnance Survey Mapping Epoch 1, 1:2500. Digital. 1:2500. [Map / SWB14341]

Related Monuments

MWB6570Greenham Common Airbase (RAF Greenham Common) (Monument)
MWB16502Limberlost Bomb Stores, Crookham Common (Monument)

Associated Excavations and Fieldwork

  • None recorded