Stonehenge Aerodrome and the Stonehenge Landscape

Author(s): Martyn Barber

Between 1917 and 1921, Stonehenge had an aerodrome for a near-neighbour. Initially a Royal Flying Corps training establishment, from January 1918 it became the No. 1 School of Aerial Navigation and Bomb Dropping, home to a contingent of RNAS Handley Page bombers. The aerodrome featured two camps either side of a take-off and landing ground, the first located close to Fargo Plantation, and a subsequent and more substantial technical and domestic site situated either side of what is now the A303, a few hundred yards west of Stonehenge. After the war, the aerodrome buildings became the focus of debate about what constituted unacceptable modern intrusions in the Stonehenge landscape. Converted to both agricultural and domestic use, the hangars and accommodation blocks prompted the first demands to ‘restore’ the Stonehenge landscape – not to what it had been prior to the war, but to something deemed more appropriate as a setting for the monument. Following a public appeal, the aerodrome and neighbouring farmland was purchased, the buildings dismantled and removed, and the land handed to the National Trust. The result was intended to be a landscape freed from “the restless and commonplace current of every day life”.

Report Number:
Research Report
Aerial Photograph Interpretation Landscape First World War Aerial Photography Airfield


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