Army Base To Natural Space – Greenham Common, Newbury

Sitting just outside Newbury in Berkshire, UK, is a piece of public land. Initially, it may not seem out of the ordinary, but a closer look reveals an air traffic control tower, several abandoned buildings, and… a derelict aircraft? This is not your usual park. This is the once in-famous Greenham Common.

An American airbase during World War II, the site was at one point used as a base of nuclear weapons, becoming the focus for anti-war sentiment when the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp set up camp (literally) outside the base in the 1980s for nineteen years.

The base was closed in 1992 and then in 1997, the common was designated as public parkland. It’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and you’ll find the odd cow or two grazing its heathland. The Cold War-era control tower is now a visitor centre and community cafe.

It’s also popped up as a filming location a few times. Beyoncé used the airfield to film scenes for her 2013 self-titled visual album. And parts of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, and “Fast and Furious 9” were filmed there.

Some parts of the common are still off-limits, including the original missiles silos. In my mind, these could be a good place to come in a zombie apocalypse – which tells you a lot about how I think.

And as for the plane I mentioned in my intro – well it’s not quite as it seems. From afar, it appears to be an abandoned shell. But up close you’re informed it was in fact a purpose-built replica intended to be used to run fire-fighting drills.

If you’re looking for a piece of recent history, the site is well worth a visit and it’s pretty big too so you get a good walk/cycle/ride if that’s what you’re after. On the inspiration front, aside from my apocolypse idea (of which you could form a few), there’s scope for something war or history-related, or perhaps something a bit more sci-fi located in and around the silos and bunkers.

What do you think? Have you ever visited before? Please share in the comments.

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Tyneham – The Village Where Time Stopped

More about my books

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