The community of Castlemartin includes the great sweep of Freshwater West beach and a large part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) tank range established on the Castlemartin Peninsula in the late 1930s and further developed during the Cold War period.

Great Furzenip to Linney Head

Hard Target, Chieftain (A1) Linney Head

This section of coast is within the danger area of the Castlemartin training ranges and is only accessible on National Park guided walks. It includes the important Linney Training Area (SR 892 969) which was set aside for the training of the 79th Armoured Division during WW2. Several secret weapons were tested here and it was the scene of a number of exercises during the build-up to D-Day. These exercises involved the construction of replica German defences – including mine-fields, trenches and anti-tank walls – which were attacked from the sea by the 79th Armoured Division. Many replica German structures still stand, including ‘Tobruk’ shelters, machine gun posts and German style gun emplacements. Also visible are the remains of the various types of matting which were used in tests designed to allow tanks to cross areas of soft sand.

Merrion to St Twynnell’s

Blockhouse Winch, Linney Head

This area contains a number of 1940-50s radar installations which comprised a Chain Home Low (CHL) (AMES 70A) and a ground control intercept (GCI) station from the Cold War period. The large bunker on the south side of the road (SR 941 974) is an R6 two-storey semisunk ROTOR bunker, while each of the small, square concrete buildings would once have had radar scanners on the roof. The nearby bungalow was once the guardroom.

Blockhouse OP, Linney Head

On the north side of the road (SR 943 976) is a large single-storey building dating from the late 1950s. This was another structure associated with the radar station known as a ‘Type 80 Modulator’ building.

On the ridge road to the north was a Cold War Gee-H station which was built to provide accurate navigation for the V-Bomber force. It remained operational until the early 1970s and is now a private house (SR 942 977).

Axton Hill

The disused building at the foot of Axton Hill (SR 930 986) was once the pump-house which supplied water to the wartime tank range at Castlemartin, the limestone plateau on which the range stands being devoid of natural spring water.

Further reading

Castlemartin …a Chuckle and a Cackle by Denis Alderman;

Fit to Keep Company With – the Lambtons of Brownslade by Denis Alderman;

An Experience Shared 1939 – 1945 by Vernon Scott, published by Laleham Publications.

Linney Training Area (SR 892 969)

51.631315, -5.0473033

R6 two-storey semisunk ROTOR bunker (SR 941 974)

51.637619, -4.9769002

Type 80 Modulator’ building (SR 943 976)

51.639488, -4.9741318

Cold War Gee-H station (SR 942 977)

51.640350, -4.9756337

Axton Hill (SR 930 986)

51.647990, -4.9934834