Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Hameldon Hill decoy site (for Accrington)

Above: The site today. On the ground there is little to see except some minor channels cut into the ground, the meaning of which are hard to understand from this vantage point. In the background is the weather station

The Hameldon Hill decoy site is one of five decoy sites set up to defend Accrington. The others were Burnley, Worsthorne, Haslingden and Accrington.

 

To learn more about these decoy sites and their role in World War Two - click on our Decoy Site Page HERE

 

This site is easy enough to reach thanks to the tarmac road leading to the weather staion in the adjacent field. And there is a public footpath through the field in which the decoy site was set out - not that there is much to see these days. There is however a great view of the surrounding countryside.

From this site it is possible to walk to the Accrington decoy site near The King's Highway.

 

This site used both deliberately started fires (hence it is a Starfish site) and electrical lighting (therefore a QL site) to confuse enemy planes into thinking they were somewhere

that they were not.

086 (640x480) Hambledon hill 2 Hambledon hill 3 hambledon hill 60s starfish Hambledon Hill drystone building

Right: Hameldon Hill decoy site - on the wonderful Mario Maps (courtesy of Lancashire County Council) in the 1960's. This site has actually been listed as a Scheduled Monument - which is very welcome, but a bit of a surprise as it has less to see than the other four sites linked with this one.  You can just about make out some strange geometrical shapes that made up the decoys themselves - but what exactly they were meant to be.....I guess we had to be flying overhead at night with a plane full of bombs to know.

We believe the five sites for Accrington are mainly to protect Howard & Burrough's works - which during WW2 was a munitions factory.

 

According to Pastscape: "The Hameldon Hill site was initially designed as a 'Permanent Starfish' ('SF' or 'PSF') decoy. During the autumn of 1941, the site was enhanced by the addition of simulated urban lighting ('QL' decoy) and from then on was used as a joint SF/QL site. The simulated urban lighting took the form of railway marshalling yards, furnace glows and locomotive glows.

 

An aerial photograph of 1946 depicts four large areas, defined by firebreaks, and subdivided into compartments by additional firebreaks. Each of these would have contained flammable material, ready to be ignited in case of enemy air attack. The same photograph shows over 20 small rectangular features thought to have been used to replicate the marshalling yards. The control buildings have been demolished but are represented by building platforms and scattered building material."

Above Right: This stone built structure is mentioned in the English Heritage scheduling document as part of the WW2 site. But to us it is a leftover of a much earlier industrial use of the site - most probably quarrying or mining.

Above Left & Right: As stated in the Pastscape report, the associated buildings for this site have been demolished. Some of this seems to have been dumped in this old quarry feature on the site. Close up, the debris fits in with a WW2 building.