||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (February 2013)|
|Type||NATO Air Weapons Range|
|Location||Coordinates: near Wainfleet, Lincolnshire in UK|
|Operator||Defence Training Estates (East)|
|In use||August 1938 - June 2010|
RAF Wainfleet was a Royal Air Force weapons range on The Wash on the east coast of England near Wainfleet, in the civil parish of Friskney, although the north-east part of the range was in Wainfleet St Mary. Other ranges nearby include RAF Holbeach, also on The Wash, and Donna Nook. It was also known as The Wash (North side) Bombing Range. It was only a few miles south-west of Gibraltar Point.
The range opened in August 1938. However usage of the site as a range dated back to 1890 by the 1st Lincolnshire Artillery. During the 1920s and 1930s it was also used by the RAF and Royal Artillery. The range was administered by RAF Coningsby as an Air Weapons Range within RAF Strike Command. On 1 April 2006 control was transferred to Defence Estates and the range was then administered by Defence Training Estates (East) from their headquarters at West Tofts Camp near Thetford. It was used by both fixed wing and rotary aircraft from NATO. During the Second World War, it was used by 617 Squadron to test the Stabilizing Automatic Bomb Sight. Due to funding cuts the range was closed for operations on 2 December 2009 and finally closed in July 2010.
The site was controlled from the Control Tower. Targets included old ships. There were two smaller wooden observation towers to the east nearer the shore but these were demolished in 2009. Access was via a narrow road called Sea Lane via the junction with the A52 at the Barley Mow at Friskney Eaudyke.
The site was cleared by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from RAF Coningsby. Although the range has finally closed unrecovered ordnance and unexploded ordnance will remain for many years.
The range area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest thanks to the large number of resident and migrating birds found there. The location is a major stopping point for flocks of Brent Geese on their way from the Arctic coast. There is also the Red-legged Partridge. Skegness gets its weather recorded from the automatic equipment at Wainfleet.
- Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (ISBN 978-0850594843)
- RAF website
- History of the site
- Photographic gallery
- 2001 Bombing competition
- 1999 Bombing competition
- Defence Estates
- Abandoned seal found on the bombing range