We went out for a family walk today. I was on my Nordic Poles and Chris had the push chair for Alex.
We took in Starve Hill airstrip (Hawley airstrip), the car bin and exercise house out the back end of Gibraltar barracks. It was a slow walk, but we covered 10km, and Alex walked a great deal of that.
As usual, puddles were top priority for Alex. Some puddles caught him off guard as they were deeper than he was expecting! Boots and waterproof trousers held up well for him though… Luckily!
As we passed the lake on the way back home, we saw the Army out on the water practicing with pontoon boats, or at least that’s what they looked like. Whatever they were, they sounded like they had powerful motors.
Hawley Lake has an airstrip – or at least it has a disused airstrip.
Two short runways cross on top of the hill. The history is a bit tricky to trace, but there are a few ideas around.
There is a thought that it was used for special operations with Lysander aircraft. This would make some sense, as the Lysander was superb for short field work.
Other talk says Beavers and various liason aircraft/helicopters used the strip to access Minley and/or Gibraltar Barracks (which have a certain hush-hush rumoury around them anyway).
Even Harrier and helicopter tests were thought to have been carried out here, to test sand damage and filters on desert based aircraft.
I don’t know the date of strip construction – which would be of some help – but until then, it’s a rumour of history. I do know that local airfields have been (and still are) used for secret squirrel operations.