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Lancashire At

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire





Road blocks, tank traps & the Home Guard

During the war, the Home Guard set up road blocks and anti tank traps/blockades at road junctions and on important sites such as bridges, canals. These are some of the ones we have found so far. Yes, they are now just forgotten lumps of concrete, some of which have found a new role. But they were an important part of what would be our defence against invasion - which during the early part of the war was considered inevitable.

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Hidden amongst trees, covered in moss, these long forgotten Burnley road blocks are surely not far from where they saw action in World War Two. Because, just over the wall is a major road junction to Halifax, Rochdale and Burnley.


Now they sat forgotten just next to the Towneley Park estate. We counted six in total. They are not though all the same size!  

Probably in situ, these 20 or so anti tank road blocks now prop up the banking. But the fact there is a pillbox a stone's throw away and that they are on a junction, we guess they are where they were used in the war. Now they are just extra obstacles for passing traffic to hit. They are on the Halifax Road / Back Lane junction in the moors of Burnley.

These are a bit of a puzzle. On the A570 Ormskirk Road at the junction to a farm drive. Between Edge Hill University and the Stanley Gate pub.

Why are they here? they are a few hundred yards from the main road junction. Have they been moved from there? And why is one of them a completely different shape (It also has a rusted metal fixing in it)? Oh, and what is with the stones placed on top? Are they going to become walkers' cairns?!

These three anti tank blocks are now blocking a "short cut" between a dead end and a piece of park land in Greenmount, Bury. Put there recently by the Council after someone tried to drive through, but possibly the same as those used just down the road (Holcombe Road) at the site of the Home Guard road block at Brookhouse Farm.

(personal communication with Christine Taylor (local historian))

On the main road roughly halfway between Bolton and Bury there is a solitary anti tank block and its mate (a concrete filled 40 gallon container). Both in the entrance to a farm and likely not where it was originally deployed.

New uses for old anti tank road blocks - No. 44: Forty Four anti tank concrete blocks hold up a bank on the outskirts of Preston. Were these things collected up after the war and stored for future possible uses? This is on Gib Lane, Hoghton. Next to the railway bridge.

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Dozens of Anti Tank blocks used as defences against erosion by the River Irwell in Summerseat, Bury. But where did they come from beforehand? And how many have been washed away (see BELOW)?

Now here's a strange one. Two lines of Anti Tank blocks (some piled two high) in an L-shape. Why are they here and why in this layout?

Above: These dozens of Anti Tank blocks can be found by the side of Pilkington Sailing Club, Eccleston, St Helens.

Next to them are a row of half a dozen modern concrete posts to stop cars. You wonder why they didn't just use some of these!

Right: On the East Lancashire Road (A580) near the A571 junction is this lovely clash of the old and the new. To stop people coming onto this disused car park, there are two large modern concrete blocks. And, look carefully, either side are two anti tank blocks. As this is near a junction -

were they local?

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