Described by Historic England as the ‘most important site for the history of explosives in Europe’ the remarkable and beautiful landscape chronicles the development of explosives, propellants and finally rocket motors and fuels from the Civil War to the Cold War, including rare surviving WW1 factory buildings, and intriguing structures and earthworks.
The Royal Gunpowder Mills is a Scheduled Monument with over 20 listed buildings. It is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for it wildlife. Its alder woodland is undergoing conservation, and the site features a unique three level industrial canal system (now mostly dry).
Only the southern part of the site is accessible to the general public, where school activities and events take place and there are exhibitions about the history of the site and its manufacture, an armoury, an exhibition of rocketry, and a café. A number of the site’s many volunteers are people who worked here during its final incarnation as a top-secret research establishment to 1991. The northern part of the site awaits restoration and can normally only be viewed from a popular landtrain tour.
Tours of the out-of-bounds parts of the site will be led by a knowledgeable guide, entering particular interiors if appropriate. The tour will introduce participants to hidden architectural gems as well as the stories of the site and the purpose for which each structure was designed.