Submarine Pens - Nr Ashleycross Hill, New Forest, Hampshire, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 50° 55.579 W 001° 42.987
30U E 590207 N 5642415
Quick Description: The remains of a very odd but important ruin can be seen in the New Forest.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/15/2010 12:21:57 PM
Waymark Code: WM9PR0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member romantic29
Views: 5

Long Description:
This tumulus amongst the heather and trees is the remains of the New Forest Submarine Pen. This area was once remote and used in important activities during WWII. It is part of the Ashley Walk Bombing Range.

The Submarine Pen was constructed, amongst another 23 other pens, from reinforced concrete. It was a replica of the pens built along the French coast which housed the German submarines. As part of the Bombing Range it withstood all bombs including direct hits. It cost a quarter of a million pounds to build the pen.

When the war ended as the Submarine Pens were indestructable they were buried forming the tumulus we see today. From the top is a gorgeous view of the New Forest and beneath your feet is the concrete evidence which breaks out amongst the heather.

Covering an area of over 5000 acres this range was once enclosed by 9 miles of 6 feet high chain-link fencing. It was bombed by Mosquitos, Lancaster Bombers and American Flying Fortresses as they tested their deadly cargo ready for Germany. Most bombs were tested here apart from fire-causing incendiary devices; bombs weighed up to 22,000 lbs with these causing 40m wide and 21m deep craters.

Targets were created to reinforce the forest and walls were constructed to test the 'Bouncing Bombs'. A line target simulated a railway line and a ship made from steel plates with old vehicles on top was created.

Further information can be read here: visit link

This interesting article is also valuable: visit link

'New Forest Notes by Anthony Pasmore - Lymington Times

Wartime secrets of the Forest
'ON the morning of 13th March, 1945, less than eight weeks before the end of the war in Europe, the New Forest shuddered under the explosion of the largest bomb ever to have been dropped on England. Moments before, a specially modified Lancaster had crossed the Avon and released its strange new weapon high above Sandy Balls. As the bomb plunged forwards and downwards it passed through the sound barrier before burying itself deep in the ground one hundred yards south west of the Ashleycross gate into Pitts Wood. There followed nine seconds of silence. Then, far underground, the delayed action fuses detonated nearly ten tons of explosive and the edge of Hampton Ridge erupted as a crater, one hundred and thirty feet across and thirty feet deep, was torn in the plateau. This one test of the ultimate earthquake bomb of designer Barnes Wallis had worked. An immediate phone call to the base of 617 squadron set in motion the preparation and loading of "Grand Slam" as it was known. Within twenty four hours of the test explosion, a single Lancaster destroyed the Bielefeld Viaduct in Germany which had, defied innumerable carrier attacks. As the war drew to its close, Grand Slams rained down on the previously impenetrable reinforced targets of Europe, destroying them one by one.

These local details of the test are recorded for the first time in Norman Parkers history of the Ashley Walk Bombing Range which has just been published by the New Forest Research and Publication Trust.

Ashley was a secret place covering about four thousand acres and surrounded by a high wire fence. Within its boundaries were tested almost every type of air delivered weapon used by our forces during the Second World War. For example the author describes how, in 1943 a modified version of the famous bouncing bomb was dropped against a heavily armoured wall near Bramshaw Telegraph from a height of sixty feet. By reversing its original rotation it was intended that the bomb should roll forwards rather than bounce. The idea was that it should be dropped out at sea to roll along the sea floor to emerge on the beach and destroy coastal defences in advance of the invasion. The plan however, failed. The bombs flew across the range in all directions deflected by every undulation of the ground. Thirty years after the war, one of the bombs was salvaged and returned to the squadron which carried out the tests.

Other stories relating to the range include the testing of "Highball" a smaller bouncing bomb, and the dropping in Ashley Hole of the "Tallboy" earthquake bombs. On Coopers Hill above was carried out the fragmentation bombing of two hundred slit trenches containing dummies, while at Ashley Cross were built the famous "submarine pens" costing a quarter of a million pounds.

Mr Parker tells how, in specially built aircraft pens above Alderhill Bottom, brand new American Airacobra fighters were used as targets for fragmentation bombs. The plane was, apparently, disliked by the RAF. On a visit by high ranking American officers the targets had to be hidden in the trees to prevent an international incident.

Other weapons were tested against different types of target including two massive walls, forty feet high, which dominated Ashley Walk like two tower blocks. They were located at Leaden Hall and Cockley Plain. On Cockley Hill was the ship target, steel plates forty feet long and twenty feet high simulating the hull of a merchant ship and used for rocket attacks. From Alderhill to Leaden Hall, a two thousand yard "line target" comprising a chalk strip ten feet wide, dominated the range and was used for training in attacks on roads and railways.

For local people, perhaps the most useful part of Mr Parkers history is a record of surviving evidence of the range. Over four hundred craters were visible when the range closed in 1946 and most are still traceable today. Remains of most of the targets can still be found, but only one building in the shape hut near Amberwood. A large scale-map makes it possible to identify almost every hollow and mound and gives an excellent idea of the complexity and extent of the Ashley operations.

The second part of the booklet describes the pastoral history and landscape of Ashley Walk. It includes rare photographs of the vanished Amberwood Cottage and Ashley Lodge, both destroyed by the bombing. There is also a reproduction of the famous "Driver's Map" of Ashley Walk. Copies of "Ashley Walk: its Bombing Range, Landscape and History" are available from the New Forest Research and publication Trust at 4, Clarence Road, Lyndhurst, at £4.65, including postage.'


Parking: N 50° 55.590 W 001° 40.356

Recommended access: Not Listed

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