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Discover the top-secret military base which played a key role in the Cold War

PUBLISHED: 15:30 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:56 08 September 2018

Former atomic weapons factory which is now Gorse Industrial Estate at Barnham.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Former atomic weapons factory which is now Gorse Industrial Estate at Barnham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

It was a top secret military base which played a key role in the early days of Britain’s nuclear weapons programme.

Today, the nuclear weapons have long gone but RAF Barnham, two miles south of Thetford is still home to many of the bunkers, storage areas and reminders of the important role the site played during the Cold War.

Built in the early 1950s the bomb store was built for the maintenance of Blue Danube, Britain’s first free falling nuclear weapon to be stockpiled.

Operational for around 10 years after the site closed it fell into disrepair until it was bought by Keith Eldred in 1966.

Now, RAF Barnham is just one of the many historical locations across the region waiting to be discovered during the Heritage Open Days festival, an eight-day celebration of the county’s heritage.

Former atomic weapons factory which is now Gorse Industrial Estate at Barnham.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYFormer atomic weapons factory which is now Gorse Industrial Estate at Barnham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Heritage Open Days festival will take place from September 6-9 and 13-16.

With almost 300 events programmed, including free guided tours, talks, open buildings, exhibitions and performances, Norfolk’s Heritage Open Days festival is one of the biggest in the country.

A brochure covering most of the events in Norfolk is available from The Forum in Norwich, Tourist Information Centres, libraries and many other places across the county.

A copy can also be downloaded from: theforumnorwich.co.uk/hods

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