Bramley Training Area

Coordinates: 51°19′29″N 1°3′48″W / 51.32472°N 1.06333°W / 51.32472; -1.06333
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Bramley Training Area
Bramley, Hampshire
Fence on edge of Bramley Training Area
Bramley Training Area is located in Hampshire
Bramley Training Area
Bramley Training Area
Location within Hampshire
Coordinates51°19′29″N 1°3′48″W / 51.32472°N 1.06333°W / 51.32472; -1.06333
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
Operator British Army
Site history
Built forWar Office
In usec.1914-Present

Bramley Training Area is a British Army training camp, located south of the village of Bramley, Hampshire. Opened during World War I as an ammunition depot, the site now comprises a field training area and an Army Reserve Centre at Lapraik House, the base for C Squadron, 21 Special Air Service.[1][2]

Bramley Ordnance Depot[edit]

Bramley Ordnance Depot (known as Central Ammunition Depot Bramley from 1946)[3] opened on the large areas of scrub land in north Hampshire in 1917 for the manufacture and storage of ammunition.[4] A School of Ammunition was established on the site in 1922.[4]

To enable both safe manufacture and storage of munitions, well spaced railway tracks were built both sides of the Great Western Railway line connecting Basingstoke and Reading. The tracks were connected with each other at their northern and southern ends, and the tracks on either side of the running line were connected with each other by means of two tunnels under the GWR running lines. The tracks in the depot served various factories and stores, and the scale of the depot can be gauged that in a site measuring only 1.25 miles (2.01 km) from north to south, there were over 30 miles (48 km) of track: enough to cover the distance from Basingstoke to Reading and back.[5] A spur northwards from the military yard reached the south side of Bramley station, which allowed through running services for depot workers. These started in 1922 but were suspended during World War II, and restarted after the war using stock from London Transport's Piccadilly line. The passenger services ceased in 1970, railway services to the depot ceased completely on 1 March 1987 with a special for rail enthusiasts.[6]

The Central Ammunition Depot was served by the Garrison Church of St. Barbara (known locally as St. Barbara's Chapel). The register of baptisms (1956 to 1975) is now held by the National Archives, Kew.[7] The stained glass window from St. Barbara's Chapel was removed to Bramley Church when the chapel was de-consecrated.[8]

CAD Bramley closed in 1978, the School of Ammunition having relocated to Kineton two years earlier.[9] The depot was then, however, taken over by the US Army, which continued to use it as an ammunition store until February 1987, when the last stocks were removed and the depot finally closed.[9]

Bramley Training Area[edit]

Following closure of the ammunitions depot, the facility was renamed Bramley Training Area and sub divided into three areas as training facility. Area A is the smallest, where parts of the ITV1 series Midsomer Murders have been filmed. In Area B, located near to the camp's main base, there is the shell of a Whirlwind helicopter[10] on a concrete training area, adjacent to which there is a respirator test chamber. There are a number of other static helicopters including Lynx and Gazelle airframes in various states of repair scattered throughout the site.[11] In Area C the Channel 4 television series Scrapheap Challenge was filmed. This area has now been cleared and the site is undergoing soil treatment.[12]

The Training Area is used regularly by recruits from Recruit Training Squadron, RAF Halton for Exercise Blue Warrior. This exercise serves to confirm that the recruits can successfully operate in field conditions whilst demonstrating basic force protection skills.[13]


  1. ^ "Reserve Forces in the South East" (PDF). Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  2. ^ "C Squadron 21 Special Air Service Regiment (V) Artists Rifles". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  3. ^ Parliamentary Written Answers Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Ammunition Depots". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  5. ^ "A History of the Railways around Basingstoke". Basingstoke & District Railway Society. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  6. ^ Tolley, Chris (4 January 2001). "Bramley Ordnance Depot". A History of the Railways around Basingstoke. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Register of Baptisms, Garrison Church of St Barbara, Bramley Central Ammunition Depot (CAD), Hampshire". Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  8. ^ "National Archives - Photographs held by the Royal Logistic Corps Museum". c. 1980. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  9. ^ a b Steer, Brigadier Frank (2005). To The Warrior His Arms: the story of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1918-1993. Barnsley, S. Yorks: Pen & Sword.
  10. ^ "Whirlwind XK970". Archived from the original on 3 May 2003. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Out of Service Aircraft - Bramley, Hampshire". Demobbed. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Captain Bob leads scrap team to victory". Basingstoke Gazette. 7 June 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  13. ^ "RAF recruits demonstrate their skills". UK Government. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2022.

External links[edit]