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Former Basingstoke Airfield?

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Former Basingstoke Airfield?

Old 19th Feb 2021, 17:08
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Question Former Basingstoke Airfield?

Hi everyone,

Lockdown boredom and extended furlough has meant I've developed an interest in the history of airfields in Hampshire (!) - and I understand that there used to be an airstrip somewhere SW of Basingstoke about 30-40 years ago, used by the AA (their head office used to be in Basingstoke). I've heard reports that it's long been built over with houses and I suspect this is the case, but I wondered if anyone knew/knows of the exact location of this former site by any chance? I can find no record of it, only vague reports of it's rough whereabouts and despite hours spent examining historical Google Earth imagery and hunting for charts, it has not proved fruitful!

I know PPRuNe isn't the font of knowledge it once was, but someone here must know something or know someone who was familiar with this airstrip... Any ideas?!

Many thanks in advance and have a good weekend!

UK.
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 17:51
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There are some references to it in this recent thread:

The AA at Coventry in the 80s


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Old 19th Feb 2021, 19:03
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Thanks Dave,

This thread did come up in my research, however as the information specifically regarding Basingstoke was rather thin on the ground and not the main subject, I thought creating a dedicated thread might yield more results - hopefully anyway!

Chevvron mentioned that he thought he saw the air strip marked on a chart somewhere between the M3 and A30, I donít believe the M3 existed at that time, but perhaps he was referring to its modern day location. One snippet of a chart I saw had a circle (possibly denoting an airstrip, Iím not sure) in the southwest of Basingstoke within the immediate vicinity and to the SE of the railway junction south of Newfound (Pack Lane). This is still a farm however and wouldnít explain the sudden end of use as an airstrip, unless it was an agreement that expired? The other area would be somewhere in the now housing estates between Hatch Warren and Kempshott. If I can upload a copy of the map snippet (low quality unfortunately) then I will. But does anyone know for certain or know anyone who would?

Many thanks again,

UK.
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 19:17
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Basingstoke flying sites - UK Airfield Guide

Great site!
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 19:48
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...
I know PPRuNe isn't the font of knowledge it once was, ... Any ideas?!
Stick around son, there's plenty of fuel in the PPRuNe tank yet.

We're not talking about Popham are we ?

Where did the late lamented Charles Church keep his Spitfire etc - was it Popham ?

LFH

...
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 20:25
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Charles Church kept his fleet here:

Roundwood Farm
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 21:52
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Originally Posted by AirUK View Post

...., about 30-40 years ago, used by the AA ....

UK.
Are you sure of the timeframe?
That would put you from 1980-1990?

In approx. 1982 they changed from Piper Apache to larger Cessna Conquest and C441.
And from 1987 to Learjet.

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Old 19th Feb 2021, 22:49
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Originally Posted by highwideandugly View Post
Thanks HighWide, it is indeed a great site and has been most helpful in all my research of other ADs so far. The one comment from Terry:
ďUp until the early '80s, the AA, whose HQ is in Basingstoke, used a grass field south west of the town to land their Cessna 421. This field is now housing, the Cessna moving to Odiham and then when the aircraft was changed for a Learjet, they moved to Farnborough.Ē
...would suggest that Chevvronís description is more likely to be correct, but itís still not a pinpoint and more of a general area.
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 22:53
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Originally Posted by Self loading bear View Post
Are you sure of the timeframe?
That would put you from 1980-1990?

In approx. 1982 they changed from Piper Apache to larger Cessna Conquest and C441.
And from 1987 to Learjet.
Hi Self loading Bear,

Yes I'm sorry, I meant 40-50 years ago - I believe it was the 70s, perhaps into the early 80s.
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 22:54
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Originally Posted by Lordflasheart View Post
...

Stick around son, there's plenty of fuel in the PPRuNe tank yet.

We're not talking about Popham are we ?

Where did the late lamented Charles Church keep his Spitfire etc - was it Popham ?

LFH

...
Ha! That's what I was hoping...

No, definitely not Popham.
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 23:24
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On zooming out of the chart snippet I referred to above, I realised I'd made a mistake, so ignore that possible location - the 'circle' I saw near Basingstoke was an 'O' in the word 'N O R T H' written across that region... what a plonker! So I'm back to believing it was somewhere in one of those housing estates as previously suggested. But where exactly?

UK.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 03:03
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With a quick search I have found digitised historic Ordnance Survey maps at the NLS, here is the link to the latest available (1967) edition: https://maps.nls.uk/view/196189782
I have not found any reference on the map to a formal airfield, so in all likelihood it was just a farm field.
By navigating the site on the link you can load adjacent sheets, if you have the rough idea of where it should be and is not on the sheet I linked.

Edit: This sheet from 1947 might be better, the field adjacent to Viables Cottages looks to be the right shape & dimensions: https://maps.nls.uk/view/101440131

Last edited by andrasz; 20th Feb 2021 at 03:27.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 06:17
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Originally Posted by AirUK View Post
Thanks Dave,

This thread did come up in my research, however as the information specifically regarding Basingstoke was rather thin on the ground and not the main subject, I thought creating a dedicated thread might yield more results - hopefully anyway!

Chevvron mentioned that he thought he saw the air strip marked on a chart somewhere between the M3 and A30, I don’t believe the M3 existed at that time, but perhaps he was referring to its modern day location.
UK.
The first stretch of the M3 from Bagshot (J3) to south west of Basingstoke opened in about '72 or '73, (I commuted along it every weekend between my home in Chesham, Bucks and the College of ATC at Bournemouth) with the bit northeast of J3 to Thorpe opening in about '74 or '75.
In the late '70s, due to a general shortage of RAF controllers, it was decided that ATC Farnborough would take over the task of Radar Approach Control, Radar Director and Approach Control for RAF Odiham thus allowing some controllers to be posted eslewhere leaving just tower (local) and talkdown (PAR) to be done from Odiham by RAF controllers. As Odiham had no radar, their mobile AR1 having been 'posted' to Malta in late '74, all they could provide from Odiham was procedural service using NDB and QGH approaches with communications in the adjacent low flying area on the same frequency.
To familiarise us with this task, we all visited Odiham ATC one by one and it was on my visit that I was shown the map of the RAF Low Flying Area in which Odiham helicopters operated, this being an OS 1:50,000 which was hand annotated to show each farmers field which was available for low level helicopter ops plus any other airfields in use and it was on this map where I saw the strip used by the AA depicted.
Popham and Roundwood Farm did not exist at this time, nor did Scotland Farm at Hook or Valentines Farm just off the Odiham bypass and the only other airfield (apart from Lasham) was Peter Cadbury's strip about 10nm south of Basingstoke at Preston Candover plus the helipad operated by Tommy Sopwith, (son of T.O.M. Sopwith) at Axford; there were other strips near Basingstoke but these were to the north of the town.
As far as I recall, the AA strip was situated in the area of Basingstoke known nowadays as the bit between Cliddesden and Beggarwood which has been completely built over since the '80s.

Last edited by chevvron; 20th Feb 2021 at 06:46.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 08:13
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Thank goodness for that: we have an answer that will hopefully put an end to "You don't mean Eastleigh?" suggestions. An interesting thread when you sift the wheat from chaff.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 09:23
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I remember the AA Cessna 421 (G-OBCA) and subsequently their 2 Beech 200's (I think G-KBCA was one of them) and Agusta 109 (G-HBCA?) being based at Blackbushe during the late 80's/90's.
The Cessna 441 was I think G-AUTO but I don't remember seeing that at Blackbushe much.

Prior to that (I think in the 70's) there was a PA23 that they operated, in an all-over Union Jack scheme and a Jet Ranger. These both also lived at Blackbushe from what I remember.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 09:34
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Originally Posted by Wycombe View Post
I remember the AA Cessna 421 (G-OBCA) and subsequently their 2 Beech 200's (I think G-KBCA was one of them) and Agusta 109 (G-HBCA?) being based at Blackbushe during the late 80's/90's.
The Cessna 441 was I think G-AUTO but I don't remember seeing that at Blackbushe much.

Prior to that (I think in the 70's) there was a PA23 that they operated, in an all-over Union Jack scheme and a Jet Ranger. These both also lived at Blackbushe from what I remember.
I don't recall G-OBCA being operated by the AA. The reason it was based at Blackbushe was that, as the registration suggests, it was owned and operated by British Car Auctions.

The AA's Golden Eagle (the aircraft noted operating from the mystery Basingstoke strip) was G-BBUJ.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 10:15
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The website www.old-maps.co.uk has more recent maps than the ones at NLS - although you have to subscribe to zoom in past a certain level.

If you look at the area suggested by chevvron, between between Cliddesden and Beggarwood, the 1972 1:10560 map shows Hatch End Farm (which looks like it still exists) was the only cluster of buildings in the area, and on the 1977 1:2500 map, there looks like what could be a landing strip marked as a track, but no such giveaway as "landing strip".

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Old 20th Feb 2021, 10:35
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There used to be a strip at Hook which was adjacent to the M3. I used to frequently drive past it and tried to imagine landing on it. I only saw an aircraft on it once but, some years later I met someone who had flown in from there and I learned that there were quite a lot of light aircraft based there. I believe that it is no longer in use though.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 10:42
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The Hook strip had a hangar - well, a sort of open shed I suppose - at the western end as I recall and there were two or three aircraft usually visible in it. Last few times I've been past on the M3 it has looked pretty overgrown.
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 11:19
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Originally Posted by pulse1 View Post
There used to be a strip at Hook which was adjacent to the M3. I used to frequently drive past it and tried to imagine landing on it. I only saw an aircraft on it once but, some years later I met someone who had flown in from there and I learned that there were quite a lot of light aircraft based there. I believe that it is no longer in use though.
Scotland Farm which I already mentioned only dates back to about mid '80s.
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