Sunday, 15 October 2017

Plane-spotting at Blackbushe Airport

gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Blackbushe Airport Camberley Surrey Yateley Common Hampshire
Duck, you three!!!
You could easily spend a day at Blackbushe Airport, was what we remembered when we went there yesterday afternoon. We used to go there a lot and realised the last time we visited was before H was born. I really can't believe it's been that long, considering the airport is only a six-minute drive from our house. Now that H takes interest in aeroplanes (and any other thing with an engine in it), we thought we might as well take him there.

First, a note on the location. On one
gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Blackbushe Airport Camberley Surrey Yateley Common Hampshire
Woodland (Yateley Common) on our way to the runway.
side of the airport is Yateley Common so I always thought the airport is part of Hampshire. In their website, though, the postal address is Surrey but I'd say the actual location is Hampshire. Now this is not really surprising as Hampshire and Surrey (and Berkshire) share a lot of land. For example, we live in Berkshire and we are in the secondary school catchment of our local area but our nearest secondary school based on physical location is actually in Hampshire. The second time I visited England, my then future father-in-law drove me to the road where the three counties meet. Not a big deal but I find little things like that so magical.

Blackbushe Airport was built in 1941 and it was originally called RAF Hartfordbridge. The first civilian flight was in September 1945. In 1960, Blackbushe Airport was closed, and all of the infrastructure, fixtures, and fittings were auctioned off. Parts of the runways were dug up. The airport remained closed until 6 October 1962 when it was formally reopened as a general aviation field. Blackbushe has an important historical place in British Drag Racing history and was the scene of the legendary Dragfests. Blackbushe also hosted the 'picnic' in 1978, with over 200,000 people attending the concert with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Band, Joan Armatrading, Graham Parker and The Rumour, Lake, and Merger all performing. Source: https://www.blackbusheairport.co.uk
gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Blackbushe Airport Camberley Surrey Yateley Common Hampshire
Waiting for lunch (after we had our cakes). The other one
said she was freezing.


As a family, we love to watch the aeroplanes whilst we have breakfast at the Blackbushe cafe. We would then proceed to the runway, passing through the woods (Yateley Common). Note to self: bring M's scooter or bicycle next time. The disused runway is just perfect for learning how to bike-ride. I remember that a few of her classmates learned how to cycle there (is there still hope for me?!). That said, the runway is huge but twice, two little girls on their bikes almost ran us over. "Watch where you're going!" One of the mums shouted to her daughter. Mike said later, "all little girls are just like Peppa Pig, aren't they? Talk and talk and talk." It was true that the girls couldn't concentrate riding their bicycles because they were just chatting away! Blackbushe used to have the UK's largest outdoor Sunday Market as well, held from 1984, but sadly closed in 2015.

gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Blackbushe Airport Camberley Surrey Yateley Common Hampshire
One of the disused runways.
I envy my husband who didn't really go very far from where he grew up. He has good memories of Blackbushe -- drinking a few beers with his best friend whilst watching the aeroplanes from a bench that is not there anymore. "Oh, this is a great spot, we used to play radio-controlled cars here (we got told off)," he would say. He also had flying lessons in Blackbushe when he was younger.

I was a bit worried when I learned that there are plans to re-develop Blackbushe, thinking they might make use of the disused runways, etc. and limit public access. Fortunately, the plan is only to "re-develop the airfield itself, to provide better facilities and to generate future employment for the area, without having a detrimental impact on the local community and its recreational activities." Even so, Mike commented how huge a project it was.

gaslighthouse.blogspot.com Blackbushe Airport Camberley Surrey Yateley Common Hampshire


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