Royal Naval Cordite Factory at Holton Heath, Wareham St. Martin - Purbeck

The cordite factory was built in 1916, and continued to produce explosives until 1945. It covers a large area of land, with lots of small workshops surrounded by earth banks, to contain any accidental blasts. A large number of individual buildings and structures still remain, now in varying degrees of collapse, and a programme of works to identify and repair the most significant of these is urgently needed. Much of the site is within a nature reserve and only open to the public by prior arrangement. The area included in the scheduling was extended in 2016.

Royal Naval Cordite Factory at Holton Heath, Wareham St. Martin - Purbeck
© Historic England

Site Details

  • Designated Site Name: Former Royal Naval Cordite Factory
  • Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
  • List Entry Number: 1019151
  • Local Planning Authority: Purbeck
  • Site Type: Industrial > Engineering industry site


  • Building Name: Royal Naval Cordite Factory at Holton Heath
  • County: Dorset
  • District / Borough: Purbeck
  • Parish: Wareham St. Martin
  • Parliamentary Constituency: Mid Dorset and North Poole
  • Region: South West

Assessment Information

  • Assessment Type: Building or structure
  • Condition: Very bad
  • Occupancy / Use: Vacant/not in use
  • Priority: A - Immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed
  • Previous Priority: A
  • Ownership: Mixed, multiple owners
  • Designation: Scheduled Monument, LB grade II