Tucked away a mile down a country lane at the top of the Cotswold scarp south of Cheltenham is the site of the former Ullenwood army camp. Built in the 1950s it was centred on a two level, semi-sunk anti-aircraft operations room (AAOR) built to the same basic design as many others, including those at Lansdown near Bath and Mistley near Colchester with a squat appearance, recessed entrance blast door and distinctive small, square air shaft. By the late 1950s it had become the Group Headquarters for the Civil Defence Corps in Gloucestershire reporting to RSG7 at Hope Cove. It later became the northern Sub Regional Control for the south west home defence region, then successively an SRHQ and RGHQ. In 1985 its function as an RGHQ was taken over by the new bunker at Chilmark and the bunker became the Main Emergency Centre for Gloucestershire County Council. With the end of civil defence it was taken over as a store by the County Archives.
Most of the site can be seen from the road and by walking around the adjacent field. When I last visited it in the late 1980s it still had numerous bitumen covered ex-army wooden huts some of which were being used by the Scouts. The perimeter wire had been recently replaced although the compound contained a strange collection of old coaches, the ruins of some larger brick buildings, telegraph poles and even what appeared to be DIY barbeques based on oil drums (there is a similar one in the grounds of the Lansdown AAOR). The bunker was in a separate wired fenced compound with the standard lattice radio mast. Possibly the most interesting feature of the site was the fact that some of the old army huts although obviously unused still had bunks with mattresses.
The bunker is however in excellent condition throughout. Upon entering through the blast doors we descended the stairs on the left to the generator room. This is completely intact with everything as it should be - even the control panel. The ground floor contained a large number of rooms and moving along the corridor we came to the air plant room and then on to the boiler room. Much of the electrical system worked so we had electric light in most rooms. Carrying on with our exploration of this floor we visited all rooms apart from the central ops room which was securely locked as Trading Standards are using it as a store.
Some of the rooms had ROC post maps on the walls and in one room was a copy of the Glos. County Council emergency telephone directory together with a plan of the emergency telephone system for the county. On the upper floor we were able to access the gallery areas and most of the rooms. The Glos. RAYNET organisation have got use of some of the rooms and have installed a small comms centre in the old teleprinter room. They also have a workshop and store facilities in the bunker. Most of the original features were still intact including the curved perspex in the gallery viewing windows. The toilet areas had been renovated to provide full shower facilities for the Fire Fighters. The entire bunker was clean and showed little sign of deterioration. Externally an additional door had been added to provide a small hallway just outside the blast doors. The Napalm dampers were still in place on the air vents. The outside structure appeared in good condition. The bunker is set in its own compound within the site and is totally secure.