In his book Fields Of Deception - Britain's Bombing Decoys Of The Second World War, Colin Dobinson lists four decoy sites that were established to protect Preston.
This site, at Houghton, is a bit of a puzzle. The building pictured is some way from the coordinates given for the site. However, it seems to "fit" as a control building. It is on the road to the site, is is very similar in appearance to the drawing below of a Starfish Control Centre and the black & white photo of one (but without its blast walls). Also, when we visited the site we asked the farmer whose land the sites are on if he knew anything about the building, he replied that he thought "that it was something to do with the war". And then went on to tell us about the lights that were on his land during the war as part of a decoy site.
These photos show a building that has been adapted and messed about with. The concrete cap is not in its original place, the door is not original and the sloping blast walls are missing - though there is a hint of one of them to the left of the entrance?
While it is very similar to the photo and drawing below featured in Dobinson's book. It differs from the others we have seen that were to protect Accrington.
Below left & right: Beyond the road housing the Control Building, there is a less well made road through the fields which would have housed the decoy itself. As usual, there is nothing to see here other than the access road.
Left: The access road is clearly seen on this 1940's aerial photo. Dobinson discusses how, at the time, they struggled to disguise these newly built roads from aerial reconaissance.
The building at the bottom centre of the photo is Bolton Hall Farm. The control building was on the road south of this.
This photo is Courtesy of the wonderful Mario Maps on the Lancashire Gov website. Our thanks once again for allowing their use.
Dobinson lists FOUR decoy sites for Preston, they are:
Farington, Clifton Marsh, Hoghton and Brinscall.
These were Civil Starfish (SF Series) sites.
His list for Civil QL's and QF's (C Series) do not include Hoghton, but do include the other three sites.
For more information on what these different types of sites,