14 thoughts on “Ingleby Barwick / Thornaby Pillboxes

  1. I visited the Pillbox in the open on 25/7/8, by the woodland between Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick. I parked behind the petrol station and made my way through the woods, hopped over the dividing stream via a shopping trolley stepping stone, and then made my way up the path. Just to the left of the shopping trolley crossing point is an impressive Giant Hogweed (an unwelcome addition from the USA). This thing is about 15 feet high and was supposed to herald the end of all english woodlife as we know: more press hysteria from years ago…
    The Pillbox is still in a good condition with 3 metal pintel mounts visible in one half of the building; probably for a light machine gun or perhaps an anti-take rifle. I don’t think all 3 positions could have been used at once, as there isn’t that much room (and the British Armed Forces have always been notoriously stingy when it comes to equipment). Rather, 1 weapon would have been positioned in the best siting for the time.
    Access is difficult at the moment due to the vegetation and the uneven ground.

  2. There’s quite a few of these scattered around Ingleby Barwick and Thornaby woods. I spent alot of time exploring them in my childhood and I still have a keen interest in this sort of thing. It would be nice to go back now and see if I’m still as keen to spend so much time in there. They are pretty grotty inside as you can imagine.

  3. There are only these two Pillboxes left in Thornaby woods. There are no others.The only other interesting thing in Thornaby woods is the roman road near stoney bridge. There used to be a massive pillbox/underground air raid shelter just behind asda thornaby, possibly where the housing estate is. I was far to young to remember exactly what it was

    • The two big bunkers with the grass bank and blast walls around were incendiary bomb stores, there were other bomb stores on the field behind asda which were demolished in the 60’s. The underground shelter was the S.A.A. store, which i think stands for small arms and ammunition, weather it was used for that purpose i don’t know because Thornaby had a purpose built armory on the technical site.

  4. My house backs onto the woodland from the ingleby side. It used to be really interesting to pop down the woods and look inside, apart from the lager cans and other litter scattered inside. However now it’s been gated off with metal fencing blocking the doors. So if you plan on visiting, keep in mind you can only observe from the outside.

  5. Thornaby airfield How we won the war in 1965

    Over the road bridge at stainsby beck
    Drop through broken fence and brambles
    Carry bikes to Torn tarmac
    Tangled expanse Old barbed wire weeds
    Bushes break through Concrete pads
    of wood and corrugated huts
    We run to dummy walls Openings to nowhere
    bang on the rusted doors of bunkers
    scattered like molehills
    Leg up to concrete block houses
    Dare each other to descend steel steps
    Fire fingers through grey gun slits
    crunch beer cans and discarded food
    Brave dorniers and heinkels
    Lose friends to stukka gunners
    On long range tanks said mick
    Or launched from Hartlepool said stu
    We drone like beaufighters
    Cheer as birds like spitfires roll the greying sky
    We Win the war
    Then peer at timex or ingersoll
    fluorescent hands under darned jumpers
    Panic push pedals with battered knees
    for Wall’s skinless mash and beans
    Sandwich cake hard unrisen again
    All our yesterdays, Z cars and opportunity knocks
    and the ‘boro’s industrial sunset

  6. I grew up here in 60s and 70s, before most of the housing development took place. There was another pillbox that was one of our favourite places to play but it was on private land by the river, near ‘Horseshoe Bend’ and we were often chased off by an irate farmer. It was a much smaller one and may have been hexagonal, I dont think it was rectangular. There was no door, just narrow windows and a hole in the roof where there had previously been a ladder, but we just jumped down and the bigger kids pulled us back out again. When we first discovered it, I was small enough to get in/out by the windows with a bunk up. God knows how nobody got tetanus or hepatitis with some of the things we found in there ! No photos I’m afraid, just happy memories of endless summer holidays in the pillbox and the woods.

  7. When I went to low grange school there was loads off them even one on the school field when we did cross country runs we would hide in it till the rest came back LoL, Great days

  8. Thornaby airfield had several Picket Forts around the airfield. These wre circular small pillboxes which were sunk in the ground and could be raised with a hydraulic (water) pump and were very difficult to spot, only being about two foot high. One of them was salvaged when new thornaby was built and is on display at the North East Aircraft museum at Sunderland. (Its beside the Vulcan bomber). Regards, Walter Snowdon

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