French Lane, Baddington, Nantwich.
Near Nantwitch, A530 Whitchurch road. Southeast of Chester. M6 junction 16 follow A500 to Nantwitch, A530 to Whitchurch. Some kilometers outside Nantwitch, after the bridge, turn left onto Coole lane. Signposted with brow sign.
All year daily 10-16.
Last entry 15.
Adults GBP 11, Children GBP 7, Student GBP 8, Disabled GBP 8.
Groups (10+): Adults GBP 8.50, Children GBP 5.50, Disabled GBP 6.50.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||D=2 h, self guided.|
|Address:||Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, PO Box 127, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 8AQ, Tel: +44-1270-629219, Fax: +44-1270-629218. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1939||Hack Green used as a bombing decoy site for the main railway centre at Crewe.|
|1940||transformed into RAF Hack Green, fixed radar station with searchlights and fighter aircraft control installed to protect the land between Birmingham and Liverpool.|
|1950's||bunker built as part of ROTOR.|
|1958||becomes part of The United Kingdom Air Traffic Control System.|
|1966||job transferred to RAF Lindholme in south Yorkshire and the station closed.|
|1976||secret bunker construction started.|
|1999||WE 177-weapon system de-commissioned.|
|2002||Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) exhibition opened.|
|2004||remaining ultra-secret weapons exhibition opened.|
Hack Green was a World War II Radar Station, created during the ongoing V2 strikes to London. Radio Detection and Direction Finding (RDF) or Radar was a new technology and important to detect German planes and V2 rockets, but it was vulnerable and it was necessary to build a chain of radar stations. The first were built right before the war along the eastern and southern coasts to face the enemy known as Chain Home. They were supplemented at the outbreak of the war by the Chain Home Low system, which was able to detect aircraft flying at low altitude. And in 1940 a new system of radar installations known as Ground Controlled Intercept Stations was developed. At this time Hack Green was used as a bombing decoy site for the main railway centre at Crewe. But now it was transferred to the RAF and became one of 21 fixed radar stations in the country. It was also one of only 12 stations fully equipped with searchlights and fighter aircraft control. The communications equipment used by Searchlight Command is on display in the museum.
Soon after the war the radar capability of Britain was reassessed, and it was deemed unable to cope with the threat of fast jet aircraft and nuclear missiles. A Top Secret plan to replace the Chain Home and Ground Controlled Intercept radar network was cretaed and code named Rotor. It involved placing 1620 radar screens into massive bunkers covering the UK. A semi-sunk bunker known as a type R6 contained a new long range radar. The idea was to allow the RAF to intercept hostile Russian bombers with fighter aircraft or Bloodhound ground to air missiles. At that time the tripwire theory stated that a number of nuclear bombers would always get through. So any attack would also trigger Victor ‘V-Force’ nuclear bombers to become airborne and launch a retaliatory attack.
The bunker had a crew of 18 officers, 26 NCO’s and 224 corporals and aircraftsmen. And in 1958 it became part of The United Kingdom Air Traffic Control System. It was one of four joint civil and military Air Traffic Control Units. The problem was the increasing civil air traffic, it was necessary to determine which aircraft was anticipated and which not. The joint air corridor radar control centres managed the civil flights and were thus able to identify unknown intruders. But this job was transferred to RAF Lindholme in south Yorkshire in 1966 and the station was closed.
The seventies were the hot phase of the Cold War period. And many countries in east and west tried to convert air raid shelters into atomic bunkers. But while air raid shelters were published, so they were easy to find by the locals, those bunkers were built secretly. It was important to keep them secret, otherwise they would become a target. This was important because most were not able to withstand a direct hit. And that's why Hack Green became Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker. Offcially it was abandoned, personell was sent home, but in 1976 it was purchased by the Home Office Emergency Planning Division. It was converted into a protected seat of government for Home Defence Region 10:2, which is more or less Manchester. Merseyside, and Cheshire.
The construction was done secretly, took five years, and cost some £32 million. The underground complex had its own generating plant, air conditioning, nuclear fallout filter rooms, and emergency water supply. In other words the bunker protected its inhabitants for a certain amount of time from the fallout by cleaning air and water. The bunker was intended to support a Regional Commissioner, an appointed civil servant or minister, who would govern his defence region under the Emergency Powers Act. For this reason the bunker was also well-equipped with communications. The idea was to marshall the remaining resources to put the region back on its feet and re-establish the national government.
The bunker was established rather late, others were created at the end of the sixties. And so the site was in use for less than a decade. In 1989 with the collapse of East Germany and the Perestroika movement of Michail Gorbatschow the cold war ended. The fall of the Berlin Wall is generally considered the end of the cold war. After some time all the secret bunkers were decommissioned because they were not needed any more.
The site has an exhibition of nuclear weapons. They were intended for a retaliatory attack, which would ultimately be launched by order of the Prime Minister. The Polaris Missile system was located on submarines and the WE 177 were classical boms transported by supersonic V-Force strike bombers. The launch order would be transferred through Hack Green and other command centers.
Another exhibition shows the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). It was designed to detect a nuclear strike to the UK and was originally located at RAF Fylingdales in Yorkshire. It was decommissioned in 1994 and in 1999 it was carefully dismantled, moved zo Hack Green, and re-constructed at the bunker at Hack Green. The display was opened to the public in 2002.