Grovely Woods is a large area of woodland in Wiltshire. It is known not only for its role in nature conservation but also for its rich history. There is a lot of Roman and Iron Age archaeology to be found in Grovley and a Roman road runs east to west through the site.
The Roman road through Grovely Woods was built approximately 7000 years ago. It is easy to follow because it was tarmacked during the Second World War. Today it attracts dog walkers, runners and cyclists. Oakley Farm, situated at the western end of the woods, served as an RAF depot and headquarters during WWII. The woods and surrounding areas were flooded with soldiers. Salisbury Plains have a strong connection with the military, especially during WWII. Some of the Nissan huts that housed the soldiers can still be seen today in the surrounding area.
The woods provided the perfect cover for the RAF to store munitions. The US also used the woods as an ammunition depot at the same time. The woods was chosen to store munitions due to the easy access to both Wylye and Wishford stations. Sources claim that bombs and shells were stacked up in the woods out in the open. The bunkers were used to house munitions that were unsafe to be left outside.
Reportedly, there are two bunkers hidden in Grovely woods but unfortunately we only had success in finding one. We kept to the Roman road and wielding our map we kept our eyes peeled to try and spot the first bunker. Unless you knew what you were looking for and where it would be easy to miss. The bunker is surrounded by trees and covered in moss and foliage. From the road, passersby can make out the curved shape of the bunkers roof.
The bunker’s entrance has helpfully been graffitied over the entrance with the word “Bunker”. Once inside the space was clean and tidy and has very little graffiti inside. At the opposite end to the entrance is a square vent, maybe this was a ventilation vent? Presumably the bunker is in such good condition because visitors would have to travel off the beaten path to find it.
It is a shame that we never found the second bunker but we will be back to Grovely woods at some point to find it. If you ever find yourself local to Salisbury then the woods are a tranquil place to visit with an exciting and somewhat haunting legend associated with the place. It is believed that four sisters were accused of witchcraft and murdered in the wood and there are four gnarly trees that mark the spot. The abandoned village of Imber is another must-see if you are interested in WWII history.
Last Updated on 23 January 2023 by Michael