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Stoney Cross Airfield - a detailed look at the airfield

The RAF Museum has kindly made available a detailed plan of the layout of the Stoney Cross, World War Two airfield in Hampshire's New Forest, based on a 1946 Asset Plan compiled by the Air Ministry Works Directorate.

The first illustration reproduced here shows the airfield in its entirety, apart from the Sick Quarters and H.F. Transmitting Station which are out of picture at the bottom right-hand corner.

Further illustrations show individual sections of the airfield, working in a clockwise direction, starting with the three dispersal units at the top of the overall plan. (Each separate illustration is reproduced at as large a scale as is practical, which is potentially different for each).

Commentary is provided to indicate the past presence and location of a variety of airfield features, whilst exploration of the site will be repaid by the discovery of many structure outlines, building bases and mysterious expanses of concrete that the plans will help put in context.

A satellite view of the site also provides a wealth of detail, particularly when viewed alongside the plans shown below - a satellite view is available here, opened in a new window so that a side-by-side comparison with the plans can easily be made. Tip: Collapse the side panel on the satellite view to make best use of screen space and zoom in, zoom out and pan to view the required parts of the site.

Overview

The detailed layout of Stoney Cross airfield (Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)
The detailed layout of Stoney Cross airfield
(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)

(A larger zoomable version of this image is available - larger zoomable version - that opens in a new window).

This detailed plan of Stoney Cross airfield (above) clearly shows the three runways.

The main runway, 2,000 yards (1829 metres) long, is shown as Runway No 1. It was on a broadly west-south-westerly / east-north-easterly axis, providing for take offs and landings into the locally prevailing winds - the current road to Linwood runs along it.

Runway No 2, 1520 yards (1390 metres) long, was aligned north-west / south-east, whilst Runway No 3, 1366 yards (1249 metres) long, was aligned north / south.

Much of the airfield infrastructure was primarily located on open heathland, although the projecting easterly arm - used for the 'Technical Site' and for living and other related accommodation - is now mainly within fairly open woodland around Long Beech Hill - which is the site of Longbeech campsite.

Further living and related accommodation was located in the area near Winding Stonard wood and shows on the plan as a large 'A' shape at the south of the site.

Ocknell campsite is located amongst what were aircraft hardstandings - shown on the plan as tentacle-like shapes - a little to the south-west of Long Beech.

(Current public roads are shown in red - that running off the top of the plan leads to Fritham, that at the bottom of the plan is the A31 and that running off the left-hand side leads to Linwood.

The locations of three ponds are shown by blue circles. Janesmoor Pond is the most northerly, Ocknell Pond is the most southerly, whilst the third is Cadman's Pool, which was created in the 1960s).

A view across Runway 3, looking north-west
A view across Runway 3,
looking north-west
The remains of a light block beside the main runway - one of a series of light blocks to be found alongside this runway
The remains of a light block beside the main runway - one of a series of light blocks to be found alongside this runway

The Dispersal Units

(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)
(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)

The three dispersal unit sites - A, B and C - each comprised aircraft hardstandings and also flight offices and crew rooms, drying rooms and latrines, a sleeping shelter, an anti-gas clothing and equipment store, a SAA stores and aircraft re-fuelling area, and two Blister hangars - arched, portable aircraft hangars that apparently do not require foundation slabs and can be anchored to the ground with iron stakes.

The sites of the two Blister Hangars and approach trackways in Dispersal Unit Site C - within South Bentley Inclosure - are still clearly visible on the ground as sections of concrete used in part, as at 2017 (and for many years previously), by the Forestry Commission as a dumping ground for cut bracken and to store heather bales.

(Current public roads are shown in red and the location of Janesmoor Pond is marked by a blue circle).

Heather bales (and a pile of bracken in the distance) within Dispersal Unit Site C
Heather bales (and a pile of bracken in the distance) within Dispersal Unit Site C
A commoner's animal takes it easy beside the site of one of the dispersal units
A commoner's animal takes it easy beside the site of one of the dispersal units

The Technical Site and living and related accommodation around what is now Longbeech campsite

(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)
(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)

What was described as the Technical Site essentially comprised buildings along the eastern side of what is now the Fritham to Stoney Cross road - marked in red - together with a cluster of buildings across the road, virtually opposite the current entrance to Longbeech campsite (the cycle track here is also marked in red), and others abutting the north-western ends of the Original Defence and WAAF Sites.

The 'across the road' cluster included a watch office, fire tender shelter and photographic block. The control tower was apparently amongst this cluster, too, although it does not show on the plan.

Elsewhere within the Technical Site were an armoury, a variety of stores and workshops, the guard house, a huge water tower - which was only demolished in 2004, a T.2. Type Hangar - labelled 1 on the plan - and much more.

The Original Defence and WAAF Sites, and Site Numbers 1 and 2 primarily provided living accommodation, whilst Communal Site Number 1 included a gymnasium; squash court; ration store; tailors, barbers and shoemakers shop; and a grocery and local produce store. (Apparently, there was also a chapel or church here, but it is not marked as such on the plan).

The entrance to Longbeech campsite still uses an old airfield access road
The entrance to Longbeech campsite still uses an old airfield access road
This base is all that is left of a World War Two building within Longbeech campsite
This base is all that is left of a World War Two building within Longbeech campsite

Aircraft hardstandings and other facilities in and around what is now Ocknell campsite

(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)
(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)

'Frying pan' type hardstandings are clearly visible on the plan above, and remain in use as part of the campsite, whilst the large rectangular shaped building - labelled 2 - was a T.2. Type Hangar.

(The current public road is shown in red and so is the main route through Ocknell campsite).

A lone caravan is seen here alongside an aircraft hardstanding within Ocknell campsite (cc-by-sa/2.0 -  dinglefoot - geograph.org.uk/p/1638948)
A lone caravan is seen here alongside an aircraft hardstanding within Ocknell campsite (cc-by-sa/2.0 - © dinglefoot - geograph.org.uk/p/1638948)
A large herd of fallow bucks sometimes frequents the grasslands around Ocknell campsite - here are four of them, with a caravan just visible in the background
A large herd of fallow bucks sometimes frequents the grasslands around Ocknell campsite - here are four of them, with a caravan just visible in the background

Living and related accommodation near Winding Stonard wood, to the south-west of Ocknell Inclosure

(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)
(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)

Communal Site Number 2 was of similar composition to that of Communal Site Number 1, although there was no squash court, no gymnasium and no tailors, barbers and shoemakers shop.

Similarly, Site Numbers 3 - 6 largely mirrored Site Numbers 1 and 2.

(The current public road, shown as a red line, is the A31 - how many people racing past (or crawling by, depending upon traffic conditions) realise that they are so close to such an impressive piece of history)?

The gravel track across the heath leading from the south-west end of the main runway towards Ocknell Inclosure and Winding Stonard wood
The gravel track across the heath leading from the south-west end of the main runway towards Ocknell Inclosure and Winding Stonard wood
Open heathland on the edge of Winding Stonard wood, close to the location of Site Numbers 4 and 5 (cc-by-sa/2.0 -  Peter Facey - geograph.org.uk/p/711272)
Open heathland on the edge of Winding Stonard wood, close to the location of Site Numbers 4 and 5
(cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Peter Facey - geograph.org.uk/p/711272)

The Bomb Stores Site (close to the present day location of Cadman's Pool), aircraft hardstandings and loop standings - including some adjacent to Ocknell Pond, and other facilities

(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)
(Crown Copyright, RAF Museum)

The Bomb Stores Site probably needs little further explanation other than to mention that two buildings were described simply as Bomb Stores Type D, another was a Fuzing Point building, whilst a fourth was an Incendiary Bomb Store. A temporary hut is also shown.

Immediately to the south of the main runway were aircraft hardstandings and loop standings, together with two quite large rectangular buildings, which were both T.2. Type Hangars.

(The current public road, shown as a red line, is that leading towards Linwood (to the south-west), whilst the blue circles represent Cadman's Pool - closest to the end of Runway No 1 - and Ocknell Pond).

Ponies graze beside Ocknell Pond with in the foreground, the concrete of an aircraft loop standing
Ponies graze beside Ocknell Pond with in the foreground, the concrete of an aircraft loop standing
The view looking north-west towards Anses Wood from close to the Bomb Stores Site
The view looking north-west towards Anses Wood from close to the Bomb Stores Site

Find out more about Stoney Cross Airfield

Stoney Cross Airfield - an overview

References:
They Flew from the Forest: Alan Brown
Forest Reflections: Edited by Hugh Pasmore and Marie Heinst
New Forest Notes (5th June 2004): Anthony Pasmore
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_hangar

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** New Forest ponies **
New Forest ponies in the road
Ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during the first six months of 2018, 36 animals were killed or injured on Forest roads, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017, a shocking rise of 38%.
** Always take care when driving **
New Forest seasonal highlights
August
Heather blossom produces huge swathes of heathland colour, adding to the pinks and purples of earlier flowering cross-leaved heath and bell heather.
Fallow, red and sika deer antlers, when fully grown, are cleaned of velvet in preparation for the autumn rut.
New Forest pony drifts - the annual round-ups begin.
Marsh gentian blooms add splashes of blue to some of the wetter heathlands.

September
Dragonflies and damselflies remain on the wing and so do butterflies, but in ever decreasing numbers.
Hen harriers and other autumn and winter visiting birds begin to arrive in the Forest.
Mysterious New Forest fungi - mushrooms and toadstools increasingly appear in the woods.
Red deer start to noisily rut as stags roar songs of love across favoured heaths.
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
August 2018
Thursday, 2nd - Wild About Ponies, Bolton's Bench, 1.00pm - 2.00pm.
Saturday, 4th - Burley Village Show, 1.00pm to 5.00pm.
Sunday, 5th - Hartwood House, Lyndhurst, Summer Fete, 2.00pm - 5.00pm.
Wednesday, 15th - Lyndhurst Community Centre, Table Top Sale, 10.00am - 3.00pm.
Sundays - 29th July and 5th, 12th and 19th August - Exbury Gardens, Summertime Family Fun.

September 2018
Saturday, 1st - Lyndhurst Community Centre, Hampshire Mineral and Fossil Show, 10.00am to 4.30pm.
Monday, 3rd - Burley Village Hall, Film Night.
Friday, 21st - Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Memories - An Illustrated Talk by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and Dr Manny Hinge, 7.30pm - 10.30pm.
For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley