Following on from testing the Nikon D300, Sunday was urbex mission day! I had planned to visit a single location – Ditchingham Maltings, an industrial maltings and silk factory. The urbex site was crazy dangerous so it was cut short.
I’ve got no problems with doing things that are extreme when urban exploring, this site however beat me in respects to how far I would actually go – more on that in a while.
The day started good, was out of bed in time and checking over my kit to ensure everything was in place. Checked everything, batteries, head lights, torches, water, food, camera kit was looked over and everything cleaned. Got my gear on and went out to the location.
After a 12 mile detour (Google Latitude on the iPhone sucks when in the country) I found the location. First thing to do was a quick drive around the perimeter – first thing I noticed was the “Guarded By” sign – Gardwell Security – I could only hope that they dont work Sundays! So I hid the car, got my gear packed and started walking looking for an easy route in. The entire sight is surrounded by 7 foot high panel as set up by the demolition crew, they had however neglected and entry point which was soon exploited… and I was in!
First thing I wanted to do was scope the site so I walked the entire perimeter, making sure that I stayed clear of house observation points etc. As part of the scope, I was also looking for the most interesting parts of the buildings to infiltrate. Now the site was huge, the old silk and wool plant has mostly been demolished – this was awesome standing here, really felt like part of a war movie set, something like Full Metal Jacket…
From here I walked around the back end of the actual maltings – the sheer size of the building was awesome and loomed tall in the sky – I noticed a link bridge between the two buildings however using the Nikon lens could see that the wooden flooring was rotten – falling from here would be certain death
I then went around the back of the building for a whole site shot, grabbed the tripod to go HDR (sky was bleached against the building) only to realise that the head connector had been left on the Nikon D80 – so much for planning! Knowing the darkness within the building, I knew things would be really difficult without a tripod – lesson learnt!
Here I got geared up and went for an explore inside. I firstly went under the hoppers, I noticed there was a large bit of pipework, wondering what this was I followed it, I noticed a slightly covered area where it went underground – moving some of the debris I could see that there was a large underground pit full of water – plenty enough room for me to have fallen in, wonder if I would have been able to get out? Shuddered and carried on…
Pigeons everywhere, flying out of hidden spaces making me jump everytime! The next shot was taken from under the large hopper complex – this must have been a large operation when it was functioning
From the hoppers I went to investigate up and engineers inspection ladder, a few rungs up and the ladder gave way – this place was the most rotten urban exploration yet! Inside was dark and bare, the smell was unbearable – rot, damp and decay
I moved up a floor using a rotting ladder, up on the next floor there was significant evidence of major structural issues – large portions of the floor had just collapsed – my foot went through twice in the space of two meters – quickly decided it was time to get down – I really wanted to get higher up, perhaps to the top where the link bridge was however not today, not on my own… Time to head over to the silk mill building!
The silk mills was pitch black, as I entered I noticed two large furnaces – not sure what they were used for but they were huge
There was nothing much left really in the building and it was too dark for photos so back out, quick shots of the landscape then on to something far greater
The Nikon D300 was awesome, it really performed and was lightening fast – in that respect I was really happy!
And just like that, I was gone and back to the car – kicking myself for forgetting a vital piece of kit and feeling pretty down as I had been beaten by the building. I would love to go back, with planning the entire site is still available however I would need to go with someone and take a harness with climbing gear for safety…
Google Maps Satellite Link – Here