Urban Exploration - Hope Cove Bunker Kingsbridge
Located in a commanding position, high above the Salcombe estuary is one
of the finest examples in existence of a post-Second World War bunker, built
in secret by transporting tonnes of concrete and materials by heavy trucks
through the sleepy lanes of Higher Soar. It is reported that local residents only
found out what was being constructed by the reports of a late night poacher!
The bunker was fully kitted out and ready for action by 1954 and was all set
to be connected to a massive, newly constructed Type 80 radar, located
close by. Due to the rapid advancement of radar technology however, the
radar never became operational.
The building was actively used between
January 1956 and September 1957, after which it briefly became the RAF
Fighter Control School. In 1958, following the departure of the RAF, the bunker
was transferred to The Home Office for conversion into a Regional Seat of
Government that would control the South West of England in the event of a
nuclear war. The bunker was not large enough to house a full complement of
staff, so the old wartime Happidrome was refurbished and used for additional
accommodation. A new generator room was built at this time which is still on
site and operational.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Government re-organisation,
staffing levels were reduced and the Happidrome demolished. The bunker
closed its doors and was sold to private purchasers in the 1990’s who set
about maintaining the bunker which, as at the present day, is in surprisingly
good standard, considering its age and construction methods available in the
1950’s. It is packed full of many of the original features and contents, most
of which are included within the sale, including maps in the large mezzanine
plotting room, the vast air conditioning plant room and teak flooring which
would not look out of place in the dining room of a stately home.
The bunker has been used for a variety of uses including secure archive
storage and it recently proved to be a successful venue for an art exhibition