Have wanted to do a Pyestock post for a while, but also wanted to wait until I had properly done the entire site, which all besides one building is now complete. I totally love the place and have really looked forward to each new visit. Yes it’s been done to death but there did seem to be certain parts of the site that really had been scoured and shot from every angle and other parts that there were very few shots of online.
Friday marked my 5th trip since March and I’ve done one a month since then, the place has gone through quite a change in those few months security wise. Many of the standard Urbexer routes through the buildings have been obstructed or locked up tight with chunky new locks attached to steel bars. I have also noticed a change in the way security are patrolling the place, on Friday the Landrover was still driving around as normal but there was also a maroon car being driven about by two guys. Making things even trickier though were several guys walking the site with obviously no sound to warn you of their approach, almost walked into one as I left the site on the road at the southern end of the air house but he was walking away from me as I rounded the south wall of the nearby plant house, I hid and waited for him to move out of sight but as he passed by the blue towers at the SW corner of the Air House, he pulled out a chair from the road side and sat watching the inner fence for around 15mins. I’m guessing this is where most people enter the site from and they know it, tricky buggers! Friday was proper cat and mouse, a bit like Dave and Lucy’s recent trip, great fun though!
Apologies to those who know the site very well, nothing all that new here for you.
Pictures from my 5 trips now in the order we entered the buildings, some background added after some lengthy online research.
Air House (1)
The obvious shot of the entire Air House floor. The Air House provided most of the high speed air flow needed to run the various testing cells just north of here with the air being sucked in the west side of the building and blown out the east. Powered by these rows of 8 motors, 8 turbines and 24 compressors.
Air House Control Room (2)
Air House Dial (3)
Cell 3 (4)
Cell 3 with its film set doors and crazy sci-fi blast array is most likely one of the best known spots on site. I find it interesting to hear how people have made it down inside the cell and then got back out again as techniques vary depending on the group. Some people just eye up the drop and don’t fancy it. Well worth the effort as you get 3 totally mental vistas in a really small area. Photo heaven down here, just remember to bring your atom powered torches or headlights.
Cell 3 Blast Array (5)
The awesome blast array in cell 3 produced the second most powerful air flow on site. The engines of planes such as the EuroFighter AKA Typhoon were tested in here. The engine intake would have been connected directly to the central blast nozzle by a sealed pipe which did not allow the fast moving air to travel all around inside the cell, like I first assumed it did. The exhaust end would also have been sealed by pipes which only allowed the air to expand into the cell once it was inside the ribbed exhaust tube, beyond the film set doors.
Cell 3 Exhaust Tube and Air Cooling (6)
At this downstream end of the cell are some weird rods that stick out into the tunnel followed by a large curved pan shaped thingy. The rods would have had lit pressurized gas streaming out of them, like giant bunsen burners. Called inhibitor torches, their job was to ignite any combustible particles of fuel that remained in the air flow, thus averting a build up further down the cell that could lead to an explosion. The pan shaped thing had icy water pumped through it and helped to cool down the air.
Cell 4 (7)
Another sci-fi dreamscape that needs little introduction. Film set, epic chunk of metal, the UKs most powerful wind tunnel ever. This is the view from an air intake pipe looking across into the open mouth of the cell 4 plenum chamber.
Inside Cell 4′s Plenum Chamber (8)
Plenum is the opposite of Vacuum. The huge plenum chamber at the start Cell 4 helped to create the high pressures needed to force air flow through the narrow blast nozzle and into the engine capsule. This is where Concorde’s Olympus engines were tested at mach 2 and at the correct air pressure for 60,000 feet. I would have absolutely loved to have been present when testing was taking place, not inside the cell obviously
The roar inside the building must have been incredible and the floor must have been vibrating like crazy. When they ran cell 4 at full capacity, the tests needed to be done at night so as not to have put too much of a strain on the local power grid.
Doors into the Cell 4 Engine Capsule (9)
Exhaust tube deep inside Cell 4 (10)
Inhibitor torches and matrix of cooling pipes.
Cell 3 West (11)
The only test cell that is now open to the elements. This large cell ran cold weather icing tests and was used also for testing helicopter engines.
Plant House (12)
A vast space filled with an incredible amount of machinery and pipework, this is where individual components from the gas turbines were stripped down and tested to death!
Empty Wing in the Plant House (13)
Vandalism in the Plant House (14)
Inevitable I guess. Considering the last part of the site closed down in 2000 I’m surprised there isn’t much more of this.
Control Panel for Exhauster No10 (15)
Located in a building in the North West of the site. This control panel is in pretty good nick.
Cell 1 backlit (16)
Test cell 1, empty besides the blast nozzle. Smaller and older than the supersonic testing cells in the north of the site but just as much fun to explore
Cell 1 alternative lighting (17)
Rusted to hell.
Cell 2′s Jet Engine (18)
Still bolted into the testing cradle and attached up to the fuel feeder pipes, this jet engine is a nice relic from the actual work carried out on site. The only place in Pyestock where you can see one of these too.
Cell 1 & 2 Control Room (19)
Located between the cell 1 and 2 wind tunnels. I thought this room was locked up good and tight and had almost given up trying to get in when on my last visit I saw an open window up above the heavy doors. A quick climb up revealed a drop down into a room and stair access down into this pitch black space. Looks very different from the other 50′s style control rooms on site. Looks more like a star trek set out of the 70′s. Very trashed though.
Battle Test House (20)
One of the buildings on site with a very diverse set of functions. 3 huge boilers helped to create the steam for running the turbine in the nearby powerstation as well as heating for almost all the buildings nearby. It also contained areas for specialised testing such as combustion tests.
Winch Hook in the Battle Test House (21)
Powerstation Control Room(22)
Definitely worth a look this building, this control room is really nice with the overhead windows.
General Workshops (23)
At around 400m long this vast space is pretty impressive, although totally devoid of anything besides pigeon shit and dust. There are some interesting features however that made me wonder about the current usage of parts of the site. Several walls inside here have been destroyed by what looks to be breaching charges, the type used by special forces during anti terrorism ops. The walls have been blown inwards on one side and the other side shows signs of explosive discharge see below pics.
The other side of the wall (25)
Another angle (26)
Keep your eyes peeled for unexploded shit I guess
The complexity of the place boggles my mind when I look at all the equipment, turbines, vacume chambers, power plant, electrical cabling, pipes and an even larger profusion of stuff that I wouldn’t know how to describe let alone name. It all was put there to work in unison like a single ‘town sized’ machine and the fact that it DID work blows my mind.
Anyways, that’s way long enough for a trip report. I love the place so much and will mourn the day the dozers move in.