Sunday, 30 December 2012

NGTE Pyestock - Santastock Edition - December 2012

Cricket has Lords, Islam has Mecca, and Urban Exploring has Pyestock. Infamous amongst explorers as one of the biggest and best sites to visit in the UK, NGTE Pyestock is frequently visited by explorers keen to get a first-hand view of the all to familiar shots of the Airhouse and Cell 4. It was a bit different yesterday, though...

Credit to Adam Patcham for this photo. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Dartmoor - November 2012

This weekend LJ and I made our way down to Dartmoor (stopping at Tone Mills on the way) to partake in Tiny Tim's trip, which was to involve a few hikes and a few pints. Not really used to shooting people and/or landscape, but I quite like a few shots.

Tone Mills, Wellington - November 2012

A weekend away to Dartmoor began for me with a stop at Tone Mills in Wellington, near Dartmoor. After a few hour drive down to the area, then a 30 minute unsuccessful search for an open pub from the Good Beer Guide that was still serving lunch, LJ and I rocked up at Tone Mills for a break from driving.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

South Forelands Battery Magazines 2 & 3, near Dover - October 2012

So after having fun times in, and on the way in, to Fan Bay Deep Shelter I made my way back to where my bike was parked up, at South Forelands Light House. Coincidentally this was also next to where I was to explore next, the old South Forelands WWII Battery. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Fan Bay Deep Shelter and Magazine - October 2012

Fan Bay has been done to death really, I missed my chance to have a crack at it with a few other explorers in August due to being atrociously hungover, and had been putting it off for some time. Well it turned out that today was the day that I lost my deep shelter virginity.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Babies Castle, Hawkhurst - October 2012

Part 1 of my Hawkhurst adventure then. I had forgotten to look up the actual location of this site, and it was only by chance that I found it, as I noticed the security fence as I cycled past and realised that it must be Babies Castle. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lillesden School For Girls, Hawkhurst - October 2012

After an annoyingly explore-free weekend last weekend (well, did some field research at least) and a bit of a fail when I was in London during the week, I was itching to get back there and cracking on. After reading that Lillesden had had a fire, I decided it was worth checking to see how bad the damage was. I had two options to get there; a 20 minute train journey to Staplehurst and a 10 mile bike ride to Hawkhurst, or a hour and a half train journey to Etchingham and a 5 mile bike ride. I went for the former, which proved to be a bit of a mistake, as I'm in no shape for the seemingly endless uphill climbs that I encountered. On the train down I realised I'd forgotten to find out where Babies Castle was, to do after, but found it by accident on the way into Hawkhurst. May do a report of that when I go through those photos. 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cliffe Fort, Kent - September 2012

Another hangover on a Saturday, another solo explore, another tick off of the hitlist. This weekend I made my way out to Cliffe in the Hoo Peninsula to have a look around the abandoned Fort there. I was also trying out my new camera on its first explore, and I'm quite pleased with the results. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ashdown Court, Ashford Part I - September 2012

I've been meaning to do this site for ages, but given its location, never found the right time. Until last night, cycling back from the station. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Union Workhouse/Eastry Asylum - September 2012

Been meaning to make the effort and get over to Eastry for months now, after the recent fire I thought that I wouldn't get a chance, but fortunately yesterday afternoon I found myself having a look around the former asylum.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

St. Augustine's Hospital, Chartham - September 2012

I headed out to Chartham on Saturday to check out what was once East Kent County Asylum, then St Augustine's Hospital. Having been at a beer festival the night before, I was surprisingly not hungover. Courtesy of a lift from mother Longley, who told me that the place was long gone, I headed through the estate that now occupies what used to be the rather extensive site of the Hospital, before reaching my destination.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Fort Burgoyne Revisit - August 2012

Upon meeting up with Space Invader, Stealth, and SXriffraff, joined later by Silver Rainbow, I found out we'd be heading up to Fort Burgoyne. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I have already visited this site, as detailed here. I didn't mind this at all, in fact there were several of my photos from my first visit that I wasn't particularly happy with, and a whole section of the site that I wasn't able to photograph effectively because we'd left the tripod in the car!

History can be found in my original report.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

North Entrance, Dover - August 2012

It was the hottest day of the year so far, and after a 3am explore with my brother finished off a 10 hour drinking session, I woke up with a stinking hangover. Not a good combination to head down to Dover with. I waited in a pub for the guys to finish their first site and took the edge off of the hangover. 

After a bit of a fail elsewhere, we resolved to have a go at Detached Bastion or North Entrance. DB was sealed up, so North Entrance it was.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Swiss Cottage Pub, Ramsgate - August 2012

I've eventually got around to posting up the concluding part of my Ramsgate adventure last week. The venue for the last (successful) site that we had we had a mooch around was a pub that Stealth himself used to drink in before it shut down. Last known as Braces, formerly known as The Swiss Cottage, and before then known 'Kent's' I'm told. Not entirely sure when it shut down, not entirely sure when it opened, so as you may gather history is a bit sparse on this one, so on with the photos I guess.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rank Hovis Mill Air Raid Shelter, Ramsgate - August 2012

Well, it would have been rude not to...

Looking up the first flight of stairs to the entrance.

Rank Hovis Mill, Ramsgate - August 2012

Yesterday afternoon I hopped on the train to Ramsgate with a view to meeting up with Stealth and having a look around the old Hovis Mill.

"The Ramsgate Flour Mill was built in 1865, and closed in 2005 when the site was sold by Rank Hovis to a private developer, as it was no longer commercially viable. The mill survived two world wars, but sustained heavy bombing during World War 2.
A planning application has been submitted for residential redevelopment for a total of 72 apartments and 17 dwellinghouses comprising; change of use, partial demolition, extension & residential conversion of main mill building and residential conversion of ancillary office buildings."

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bybrook Infant School - July 2012

Yesterday evening I was accompanied by two former pupils to Bybrook Infant School, redundant since around 2008/2009 having been replaced by the Phoenix Community School just up the way. A previous scout had alerted me to the presence of anti-climb paint, so we took appropriate precautions this time. I'm told that the school itself opened in 1965.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Road of Remembrance Naval Bunker, Folkestone - July 2012

Gave this a quick look recently, very nice little bunker that I must have been past many, many times without realising it went underground or even spotted it.

Some history from subbrit: 
"This bunker is located at the side of Road of Remembrance in Folkestone, dug directly into the cliff face. As with many bunkers of this type, no documentary evidence can be traced of its origins or use. It is believed, however, to be a WW2 Naval communication facility. The tunnels are lined throughout in concrete, and there are many partitioned rooms, retaining original paintwork, doors and other features, including the remains of some wartime posters. Toilet facilities also exist, at street level behind the main entrance, the rest of the rooms being down a set of stairs. Above the entrance to the bunker is a ventilation plant room. The bunker does not appear to have been used since the war, and the main doors have remained sealed for a number of years."

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

St Mary's Convent/Westbrook House, Folkestone - Part 2 - July 2012

With a fully charged battery, and a spare this time, I made my return to St Mary's Westbrook School (see here for original visit). This time I took George in tow with me, and made a slightly less conspicuous entrance than before.

Monday, 2 July 2012

St Mary's Convent/Westbrook House, Folkestone - Part 1 - June 2012

St Mary's Convent and Westbrook House in Folkestone were a sort of teamed up Prep school, that ran from the 50s through until 2008, when the recession caused falling pupil numbers and the school had to be closed (read here). As with Archcliffe Galleries three weeks ago, I wasn't actually sure where I was exploring - I knew that I was on the correct site, but when I got in and started looking around, the place seemed more like a hotel, less like a school, and nothing like the photos that I had seen in other reports of the place.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Roosters Network Scavenger Hunt - June 2012

First post in a while, and it's not exploring related I'm afraid. This evening I took part in the tri-annual-ish Roosters Network Scavenger Hunt as organised by Bill - and I won! This time the challenge was to collect photos of ten themes, the team who won the most categories won. When I joined the hunt I had about 25 minutes, with the other two teams hard at work 'researching' elsewhere around Wye. So, on the way to the Co Op to get cash, I started off with 'Education'. Not bad considering it was taken from Bill's car doing about 20mph.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Fort Burgoyne, Dover - June 2012

So after hitting up the Archcliffe Galleries (although not knowing that at the time), being denied at St Martin's, and going for a walk for a while in a dead end, Giacomo and I were going to call it quits for the day (he had some excuse about a revision for an exam or something?). Then I suggested that as we were in the area we may as well check out the security for another site, and literally within about 15-20 minutes we were inside the perimeter fence of Fort Burgoyne, looking down the 'Drop of Death'! We were initially supposed to check out whether or not the military still had a presence in the Connaught Barracks in front of the fort, but we found a way in so quickly we sort of forgot to check how live the site was first.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Archcliffe Galleries, Western Heights, Dover, June 2012

After four weeks since our last visit (see here), Giacomo and I finally made our way back down to Western Heights at Dover. St Martin's Deep Shelter was our priority having been shown the bent down gate last time. I uttered something along the lines of 'wouldn't it be funny if it's been sealed in the last four weeks' as we made our way over. Guess what was sealed up? 

Not to be deterred, we made our way to our other location just over the road, which we actually knew very little about. My subsequent research has informed me that it was in fact the Archcliffe Galleries, making up part of what used to be the Archcliffe Gate.

The gate in 1959

Saturday, 2 June 2012

It's a London Adventure pt.1 - June 2012

With a few beers, my tweed jacket and my camera stuff all in my bag, I raced from work on Thursday evening to the station, filled with excitement and anticipation of the spectacle that was to follow. The first showing of Prometheus at the Imax London.

Matt was clearly overwhelmed with excitement as well.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Devil's Kneading Trough/Poor Man's Crown, Wye - May 2012

This evening I cycled out to the Kneading Trough to try and get a few photos of sunset. Didn't go very well, the bike ride that was. Struggled up the hill (swear it's got longer and taller than the last time that I did it) and when I switched to granny gear my chain came off. Twice. 

I had a bit of trouble with the sun, arguably the focus of sunset, but these pictures are what I salvaged.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Some (not so good) night photos

On the way back from the pub this evening, I saw that it was a particularly clear night, and decided that it may well be a good chance to nip out for a while and practice some night photography. Forty minutes later and I was slightly regretting it, as my issues with shooting in manual continue, as well as it froze my bloody fingers off in May! When my camera says it's too dark, it wont let me shoot in manual for some reason, no matter how long I set the exposure. 

Here's what I salvaged, anyway. I've had to straighten some up due to not having a torch to adjust the tripod properly. I also realised I forgot to take off the UV filter, so there's lens flare, and my remote didn't want to work too. Better luck next time, eh.

Aperture too low...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Western Heights, Dover, May 2012

This was a learning experience, this one. We were quite excited (well, I was, anyway) about our first visit to explore Dover, given its status as a gold mine for urbex sites. We rocked up at Western Heights with about three hours to work our way around before we had to head off to catch Nathan in Canterbury. It took me a while to realise what settings I was shooting in too (the wrong ones) before I changed them.

We pondered how to cross for a while, then gave up.


Folkestone Harbour Train Station, May 2012

I'm a sad fucker. I am. Anyone who knows me will tell you. I constantly read and obsess over certain different pieces of trivia and useless information for very little payback (although knowledge of the London Underground's escalators came in very handy at a quiz a few weeks back). That's what made our recent explore very satisfying for me.

Old Market Cattle Shed, Ashford, April 2012

Towards the end of April, Giacomo and I headed out on our first proper explore. I was armed with my new camera, to be used for the first time, although I needed to be shown a lot in order to use it.

We were unsuccessful in our primary target site for the day, but on the way to another I spotted this building:

Now for something completely different...!

So after another failed attempt at kick starting my blog half a year ago, I think I've got a good one now. Six weeks ago I discovered the world of Urban Exploring. It fascinated me; the history and intrigue of these places, coupled with such beautiful photos. So like normal when something like that interests me, I did a lot of reading. Then, not like normal, I bought a decent camera, partnered up with everybody's favourite beard/I Talian combination Giacomo, and went and started doing some. So that's what this blog is now going to become; a document on the places that I visit. Assuming that I keep it up, some other thoughts may well crop up too. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to distance myself from my previous apology to Johnny Depp. Go watch the laughable trailer for Dark Shadows to see why. 

Anywhoo, here's a shot to get us started:

Giacomo pondering access to the North Entrance.