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Monkton Farleigh!

A subterranean storage facility

Story by November 30th, 2014

Requisitioned by the war office during WWII and converted in the late 1930’s, The Monkton Farleigh quarry was one of three Bathstone quarries that formed the Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) in and around Corsham in Wiltshire. The other two were tunnel quarry and Eastlys ridge.

The CAD was referred to collectively as a number of districts. Districts 12 - 20 are situated in the Monkton Farleigh quarry. Districts 12 - 18 have for many years been used a secure storage by Restore, a secure document storage company, but districts 19 and 20 have been empty for many years. For a while they were open as a tourist attraction, but that was many years ago.


I visited the Monkton Farleigh site twice. Once in 2012 and again when a window of opportunity presented its self in late 2014. It had changed quite a bit in that time as you’ll see further down the page. The remains of the old conveyors can clearly be seen in the photos below, there were something like 7 miles of them in Monkton Farleigh alone.


When we revisited in 2014 it became quite apparent that District 19 was not quite the same as previously. Restore had obviously decided to expand their facilities so new roadways, lighting, shutters and ventilation were all present in the previously derelict tunnels. It was actually quite nice to see it lit up and also a shame as a lot of the old bits and pieces that make the place so interesting had all been removed including the old signage, all the old conveyors and the old iron doors.


Oh restore you silly people, you left your back door open.


At the time we visited in 2014 D19 appeared to be the extent of their expansion and D20 was still very derelict. I understand however that this may have changed in the previous 2 years and that D20 is now also being bought into use. This makes any future visits much less likely.

The photos below show the rear of Grahams Grovel which is a passage way that links D20 into the adjoining Browns Folly mine. Good luck getting in that way again. On the right is the massive door that they have installed between D19 and 20 which is locked from the D19 side, things definitely ain’t what they used to be.


Here’s a nice before and after shot. On the left District 19 doorway in 2012. On the right the same doorway in 2014, what a difference.


I’m glad I saw D19 + 20 when they were still derelict. Although it’s quite cool with all the lights on, it’s just not the same. I have a feeling this is one place that won’t be explored again. Or will it . . . .