Kennet Valley TR Group visit the infamous former Greenham Common Airbase Control Tower
Kennet Valley TR Group members had a very interesting mid-monthly visit to the original Greenham Common Airbase Control Tower.
RAF Greenham Common was built in 1940 as a WW2 airbase, but hit the headlines in 1981 as the base for the first US Ground Launched Cruise Missiles to be sited in the UK, and the protest movement against this carried on for 20 years night and day, through all weathers. The camp was always peopled by women, who were in many headline-grabbing encounters with the police. At one point over 50,000 women encircled the base, sadly one lost her life as a vehicle was entering the base.
The camp prompted similar movements across Europe, and eventually in 1991 the missiles were removed following an international nuclear treaty. The base was disbanded in 1997 and the common reverted to common land, though the women remained until 2001, in protest against the planned Trident missile programme.
Now it is a popular public space, for walking, cycling and dog-walking, but the Control Tower was retained, and has been restored as an exhibition of the Cold War years. For visitors entry is free, and it has a large car park, and a café serving tea, coffee and snacks.
The view from the Tower towards Highclere and Andover, you can see clearly why the base was placed here.
KVG members then went on the the Plough on The Green in Newbury for lunch, but this was not a success. The staff were overwhelmed by our numbers, even though they had been given numbers and food orders in advance, and as well as being up to an hour late, the food itself was not good.
Our sincere apologies to members who were disappointed, but this was one of our rare failures for a meeting place. The Plough on the Green have since offered a free Sunday lunch to all who attended as an apology for the upset which they state is not their usual service level, this offer will be passed on to members who attended.
Many thanks to Linda & Emrhys Barrell for the report and photos.