Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

I visited this National Trust property last month with my U3A walking group on a Heritage Day, when we were given a fascinating guided tour.

So imagine yourself back in the 1940’s. Britain as usual, has turned defeat into triumph with the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk using plucky little boats and seaman/ fishermen/ hobbyists to get as many soldiers safely out of France. The powers that be firmly expect Hitler to keep going and invade Britain in the very near future. So there is a cunning plan to train up men with reserved occupations as saboteurs and resitance fighters. And where was this done, why on the Coleshill estate deep in the Cotswolds.

As a group we were shown and had a go at decyphering messages..

It was painstakingly slow, and not Bletchley Park for sure.
Lots of head scratching.

After that we were taken up to a guards’ hut, hidden deep in the woods to evade being photos being taken by enemy planes. Apparently German records do not include a photo of this estate, so they were successful in keeping it hidden.

The house has gone, destroyed by fire after the war during repairs to return it from the army’s use back to its owners.
Information Board in the guards hut

Now the idea was that small groups of trained men would leave their families and live deep underground and carry out their missions. They would not know the whereabouts of other groups in case they were caught . Life expectancy was estimated to be three weeks. It must have been hard to keep their training secret from families, and maybe some were falsly accused by fellow citizens as cowards.

By deep underground we had the chance to enter a reproduction of such a bunker.

Yup down there.

It was quite a steep rickety ladder. There were beds and a means to prepare meals. It smelt earthy and damp. It was one way in and one way out

Hands and knees for a long crawl.

I have to say it was one of the most unusual and fascinating National Trust properties I have been too, and enormous fun.

Afterwards we had chance to visit and art exhibtion on the same site all depicting paintings of concrete huts of one kind and another. Absolutely loved it.

My two favourite pictures

Now should you wish to visit here’s a link- https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/whats-on

And before you think it’s too far away for me, the lady I talked to in front of these very pictures was visiting from Australia!

PS they have a jolly nice cafe too with wonderful staff who served three of us coffee we had arrived early before they had opened. Now that’s service.

Hope you enjoyed this wonderful piece of history.


Comments on: "Coleshill- Secrets and Spies" (14)

  1. That looks like an awesome historical tour! I like that it was also interactive and you got to have a go at deciphering messages!

  2. Fascinating and courageous. Confined spaces freak me out

  3. Wow! That sounds really interesting! I love that they preserved this piece of history and have it set up as such a nice, educational place to visit 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  4. Fascinating, Cathy! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. That looks like a great place to visit!

  6. Going Batty in Wales said:

    What a fun day out! And a place I have never heard of.

  7. Wow – what a cool visit! I am fascinating by WWII history (as you know) and love this 🙂

  8. It sounds a fascinating place, and crawling through that tunnel is just the sort of mad thing I would enjoy doing 🙂 A real shame the house was destroyed in a fire, it looks like a wonderful building.

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