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This Cache is located on the outskirts of Wroughton, along a Permissive Pathway. It should be possible to do the cache in less than 45 minutes and the path should be ok for strollers, if a little muddy in places. The original Cache contents includes a FTF Badge and Certificate as well as the usual odds and ends.
The inspiration for this Cache comes from two of our favourite war films, one of which is the name of the Cache.
Twelve O’clock High was set on a fictional USAAF Airbase during WWII and starred Gregory Peck. At the start of the film, the one-time Adjutant at the base revisits the airfield some time after the war. The airfield is now derelict and the runways and dispersal areas are gradually reverting back to nature. Whilst stood here, the Adjutant hears the wind gradually rising and then the film cuts back to wartime and the sights and sounds of B-17 bombers running up.
The other film is ‘The Way to the Stars’ starring Sir John Mills and Bill (Compo) Owens. Again, it starts at a derelict RAF/USAAF airbase, showing views of the Control Tower etc. before going back to when it was in use during the Second World War.
This Cache takes you along a Permissive Path/Bridleway close to the old RAF Airfield at Wroughton. The path takes you down one of the access routes used by 15MU (Maintenance Unit) which readied both Fighter and Bomber Aircraft for active service. Over 7000 aircraft of some 60+ different types went through here during the war. For added protection against raids, large dispersal points were set out in surrounding fields to store the aircraft away from the main Airfield. This Cache is set around one of them, which was the first to be built. As you walk down the path, looking to the right, you will be able to see part of the Airfield itself, with a number of Hangars in view. A large part of the Airfield is now owned by the Science Museum, but the Hangars, Runways and Control Tower are still in place.
Looking to the Left, you will pass (in some bushes, next to the path) an old Pillbox with would have housed Machine Guns for defence of the Airfield. There are several others further out in the field. Please DO NOT attempt to walk to these, there is no path to them.
As you near the Cache location, to the Left you will notice an opening to a field. It’s ok to stand in the opening, but please DON’T go into the field! This entire field would have originally been covered with concrete Dispersal areas and under certain conditions, it should be possible to make out their shape in the field. Aircraft were stored here during the war awaiting delivery to their Squadrons and also post war, awaiting the scrap man’s axe. If you have ever watched the films Twelve O’clock High or The Way to the Stars, it’s easy to imagine the sounds of a busy, active Airfield around this area.
One aircraft which was saved from the Scrap heap at Wroughton, was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Avro Lancaster PA474. It was also serviced and repainted at the Airfield, before joining the BBM Flight.
See the picture link to reveal what this field was like when it was full of Aircraft!
The Cache is located not far from here and is a 1.5lt Lock ‘n’ Lock type box.
Suggested Parking is at: N51 30.617 W001 46.762
There is only room for one car here and it is best to park over to one side to keep the track clear for farm vehicles if needed.
You could also pull in at: N51 30.595 W001 46.417 on a bend in the road. This again has only space for one car but means a longer walk to the Cache along a pavement, which is on the opposite side of the road. If you park here, you could use the other parking Co-ordinate as a first waypoint.
PLEASE NOTE: As I have stated, this path IS a Permissive Path/Bridleway and is signed posted near the parking area and marked with the footpath arrow on the entrance gate. It is also marked on the current OS 1:25000 map as such. It is possible to walk to the Ridgeway Path from here which some 2 ¼ miles away.
This is our first Cache, so we hope you enjoy it!
Va n zhygv-gehax gerr.