Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

ROF Beech Hill

ROF Beech Hill in Wigan is still in use today by Milliken Ltd where carpets are now made. But walk around the site (public footpaths, local roads and an old railway track - now dismantled) and there are lots of reminders and clues to its former use: Pillboxes, air raid shelters, ammunition stores, tank traps and some unknown buildings surround the site.

The main London to Edinburgh train line runs next to the site. There used to be a spur off it which went around part of the site. The trackbed is gone, but you can walk it still and see the site's defences.

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Starting at the end of Dawson Avenue (Top Right) you are welcomed by an entrance gate with gun slits!

Then there are perimeter buildings (see left, right and below) that could be ammunition stores, air raid shelters or further defensive buildings. As you walk round, it is sometimes hard to tell their original purpose.

Once you get onto the old trackbed (now a dog walkers' haven) you start to see unmistakeable pillboxes that would have lined the old rail route alongside the factory.

There are three pillboxes on the North side of the factory alone!

Just off the present rail mainline running North - South, there are what I thought were a couple of tank traps in the woods, just off the old trackway (see below) but local Keith Buckley informs me that they are capped mines - they do look similar though!

Below Left & Right: Some of the factory buildings that look like they date back to WW2

Below Left: A possible Firewatcher's Tower on the factory roof.

Below Right: A modern Google Earth view - with the dismantled railway track North of the factory.