As we climbed up the hill we really did see an 'eagle fly' and would have easily seen the 'city light' if it hadn’t been daytime. Andy told me he had been to several Genesis gigs in his youth, which impressed me because I never did and would quite like to have done so.
As we slowly descended Solsbury Hill into the valley below I realised that we could see Freezing Hill on the horizon. This linked quite nicely into our last walk at Lansdown.
We then walked through some very spectacular countryside enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. From the valley we began to ascend again towards Charmy Down, the last bit of the climb involved negotiating a set of steps built into the hillside - a very steep climb.
Eventually, after passing near a small farmyard and getting slightly lost we emerged on the edge of the old airfield. The first thing I noticed was a line of four pillboxes built for defence. The structures were in amazingly good condition considering they were abandoned in 1946. It reminded me how as a kid growing up in the sixties pillboxes were still a common sight around the landscape of southern England.
We sat on top of one of the pillboxes to eat a snack. No Eccles cakes this time but Andy had brought some rather superior fruitcakes instead.
Walking on across the airfield we took a bit of a detour off of the public footpath to get near to the Control Tower. We didn’t manage to get right up to it but the building looked surprisingly complete after 65 years.
After passing through a herd of cows and the remains of various unidentifiable brick structures (some surrounded by large banks of earth) we came eventually to the area that probably housed the accommodation blocks. Beyond this was a large field containing at least nine separate well spaced out brick built stores. These must have been used to store ammunition and they were in very good condition still having intact roofs.
Moving on we re-joined the public footpath that after five minutes or so led to the most interesting find of the day. This was a large brick built U-shaped wall that was apparently used as a sort of firing range where the cannons in the fighter’s wings could be calibrated.
We continued along the footpath and eventually came down into the valley at Northend where we followed the line of a brook back to where we had parked the car. The walk took about five hours but we spent at least an hour and a half up on the airfield.
Charmy Down Airfield was an RAF night fighter base between 1940 and 1943 when it passed into the hands of the USAAF who also used it primarily for fighter aircraft. The Airfield was abandoned in 1946.