RAF Ashbourne

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RAF Ashbourne
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Airport type Military
Owner Air Ministry
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Built 1942 (1942)
In use 1942-1954 (1954)
Elevation AMSL 610 ft / 186 m
Coordinates 53°00′25″N 001°42′25″W / 53.00694°N 1.70694°W / 53.00694; -1.70694Coordinates: 53°00′25″N 001°42′25″W / 53.00694°N 1.70694°W / 53.00694; -1.70694
RAF Ashbourne is located in Derbyshire
RAF Ashbourne
RAF Ashbourne
Location in Derbyshire
Direction Length Surface
ft m
02/20 4,800 1,460 Concrete
09/27 4,800 1,460 Concrete
14/32 7,800 2,370 Concrete

RAF Ashbourne is a former Royal Air Force airfield located approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south-east of the town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England.[1]

It was opened on 12 June 1942 before closing on 23 August 1954.[2]


Construction of the airfield began in late 1941 to Class-A bomber standards comprising three paved runways (concrete and woodchip surface) in an "leaning A" formation, 30 "frying-pan" style hard standings, four T2 hangars, a control tower and assorted technical buildings. Although at 610 feet (190 m) AMSL the altitude of the area was above the ceiling height for construction of airfields, the necessity of defensive installations during the Second World War overrode this condition.[3]


Ashbourne was home to Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle and Bristol Blenheim aircraft.[4]

Originally planned as a satellite installation of RAF Seighford for Vickers Wellington bombers, due to the unsuitability of altitude and local weather it was relegated to a training role with its own satellite of RAF Darley Moor.

Post war it was used for storage and maintenance of ordnance where the bombs were stored along the runways.[5]

Based units[edit]

There were three small units in operation based at Ashbourne:

Current use[edit]

The western half of the site is now an industrial estate, appropriately named Airfield Industrial Estate. The northern half has been used by JCB as a test and demonstration ground for various earth moving products but is now deserted. The north western part of the airfield is now a housing estate.

The airfield is marked on aeronautical charts as disused and no aircraft remain on the site.


  1. ^ "RAF Ashbourne, Derbyshire". Airfield Archaeology. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "RAF Ashbourne". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Ashbourne Airfield". Ashbourne Heritage Society. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Escape Into The WAAF's". BBC WW2 People's War. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Mustard gas killed everything as it was burnt off on Buxton hills". This is Derbyshire. Retrieved 9 April 2012.

External links[edit]