[The Room]The secret and long-forgotten room hidden beneath a field in Wales
2021-08-22 04:24:52

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  From a distance, you might mistake the small concrete hatch in a field near Abercrave for a manhole cover but what lies beneath may surprise you.

  Jump over the nearby gate, approach the hatch and you'll notice two or three small metal pipes sticking out from the ground next to the structure that lies at the end of a line of long-abandoned telegraph poles 200 yards north of Tanygarth, Abercrave.

  If you're curious enough to lift the rusted metal cover you will find yourself looking down into a 14-foot shaft with the bottom of the drop obscured in darkness and a ladder fixed to one side. Take the ladder down into the dark (which is not advised!) and you will be standing in a piece of long-lost history from a time when the threat of nuclear war was a constant fear.

  Read more: Inside the underground bunkers of south Wales that have been left to rot

  

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  The small room is all that remains of a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) nuclear monitoring post where teams of volunteers would have spent long, hot hours from the height of the Cold War between the USSR and US in 1965 until 1991, two years after the Berlin Wall fell marking the beginning of the end of the decades-long power struggle between the global superpowers.

  And this quiet corner of the Brecon Beacons played its own small part in the Cold War by preparing the UK for a possible nuclear attack. The long-silent and decaying rooms of the monitoring post would once have been full of equipment, strange dials, and the chatter of the volunteers communicating with other nearby stations. The power and location of a nuclear blast, should a bomb have ever been aimed at UK soil by the USSR, would have been measured by the devices and relayed along the chain of command.

  

  An air vent and instrument still show on the surface

  (Image: Jay Explores Facebook page)

  

  It's a long way down

  (Image: Jay Explores Facebook page)

  Over 1,500 of the stations were built across the UK, including one near Clydach which is currently up for sale. The Abercrave post was one of many posts in the South Wales region, the nearest of which were in Craig-y-Nos, Resolven, Ystalyfera, and Clydach.

  Most of the observation stations were identical, although one non-standard monitoring post was built in a cellar at Windsor Castle. Many were closed much earlier than the Abercrave post, which lasted until the early 90s, because of structural problems or flooding.

  

  A hand-operated water pump was used in case of flooding

  (Image: Jay Explores Facebook page)

  

  The inside of the bunker has fallen into disrepair over the years

  (Image: Jay Explores Facebook page)

  Although many of the instruments have long since been stolen, removed, or rotted away, the post would once have been fitted with a ground zero indicator comprised of four pinhole cameras to record the position of a nuclear detonation.

  One of the shafts, which is still visible on the surface to this day, would have linked to a fixed survey meter, a type of Geiger counter used to measure radiation level from a nuclear blast, which was fixed to the ceiling of the underground chamber.

  Find images from Wales's past here:

  Many of the ROC monitoring posts have long since been filled in with earth, flooded, or fallen into disrepair and it may not be long until the rest of these rare pieces of British history are lost forever.

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