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Cremyll WWII Underground Oil-storage depot, near Plymouth, July 2019

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HughieD

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1. The History
Searched high and low for info on this place but found absolutely nothing. Not a single shred of info anywhere on the internet. It's located over the Tamar from Plymouth and is actually in Cornwall rather than Devon. The only other thing I know about the site is that it dates back to World War II and has been abandoned for some time.

2. The Explore
Previously I had explored a fuel storage site closer to Cremyll. It’s above ground and easy to reach, if nothing spectacular. However, subsequently saw a very old report on 28DL on some underground tanks in the vicinity. What followed was a bit of research and thanks to good old OS maps, I managed to locate the four tanks. Hence on my next visit to Plymouth I took the ferry from Plymouth over the Tamar to Cremyll and then made the mile or so hike to where the path veered off the main road into the woods. It was easy enough to find the mound of tank no.1, although the entrance was a bit concealed. Having gone through the door it’s a left turn into a small valve room. There’s then a circular portal that you can climb through into the tank, presumably where a pipe would have been. Inside the vast tank was flooded with 7-8” of water. Hence it was a wellies jobbie which I’d thankfully packed in my back.

Inside it was pitch black and very, very echoey. The concrete ceiling was held up by a series of metal pillars while the sides were constructed of iron sheets. In the centre was what appeared to be a spiral heating element – probably to keep the oil pumpable. After a bit of light painting it was time to squeeze back through the portal and move on to tanks 2 and 3. These were relatively close together. The layout was pretty much identical to tank 1 although these two still had some of the hatches, pullies, valves and other bits of ironwork on the top of the tanks. There was also a nice winch outside tank 2. Both were again flooded and looked identical to tank 1 so didn’t go into these. Then it was back on the track and up the hill to tank no.4, the highest tank of the four. Again, a similar lay-out. However, this one was much dryer plus didn’t have the circular heating element. So, after more light painting it was time to pack up and walk up the hill, back to the main road and off to the next site.

Overall this was a really different place. Pretty much off the radar due to its rural location in woods. It’s the sort of place that you need good location intel on, but all-in-all, worth the effort.

Finally - thanks to Newage who got there just before me and confirmed that they were indeed where I thought they were!

3. The Pictures

The valve room here is the most complete:

48302394956_eace903923_b.jpgimg1866 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Into the tank we go:

48302515872_693ebf9c4c_b.jpgimg1858 by HughieDW, on Flickr

That spiral heating element:

48302518872_87ea2d64cf_b.jpgimg1856 by HughieDW, on Flickr

No scope for putting stuff down or knocking tripods over:

48302399136_241876a2a6_b.jpgimg1860 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Either the ‘out’ pipe or ‘in’ pipe:

48302397016_9e26930973_b.jpgimg1862 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On to tank No.2:

48302579137_f28e4eba01_b.jpgCremyll 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Complete with winch:

48302501402_6d67c053d5_b.jpgimg1881 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302499117_fb1236f6b6_b.jpgimg1882 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The rusted entrance door:

48302505212_fa3f784435_b.jpgimg1875 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In addition to the valve room there was another empty storage space:

48302382006_287a5f3a18_b.jpgimg1883 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The valve room was more far gone than the first and the worst condition of the four tanks:

48302462111_874b82ca07_b.jpgCremyll 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The entrance to tank no.3 was the cleanest:

48302494312_d2e99e32a4_b.jpgimg1884 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302572687_274fc4b699_b.jpgCremyll 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But the valve system is in a poor way:

48302458816_317ea6e87b_b.jpgCremyll 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302573422_0925c957b8_b.jpgCremyll 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But it had the most metalwork on the top:

48302375651_07005385f9_b.jpgimg1885 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302373576_79c2e78538_b.jpgimg1887 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302371621_b5e938039e_b.jpgimg1888 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302369231_6ef43f23c4_b.jpgimg1889 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302455026_9f624454bb_b.jpgCremyll 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The value system is far less in-tact and very rust on this one. To the right is the hole you have to climb through:

48302358976_1594a84f41_b.jpgimg1900 by HughieDW, on Flickr

You can see the water is much shallower here. As I walked across the tank floor in one place the floor did a very disconcerting wobble!

48302479907_b64871fe0c_b.jpgimg1893 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302475377_7c3021a573_b.jpgimg1898 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Back out again and here’s another hand winch:

48302469432_556712bdeb_b.jpgimg1906 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This is also the only tank to retain its metal service staircase:

48302351276_89df6cb623_b.jpgimg1907 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, some more hatches, valves and pipes:

48302348991_7263dfd843_b.jpgimg1908 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302462282_848c185d32_b.jpgimg1910 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48302342091_3b90fb8fe1_b.jpgimg1911 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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BikinGlynn

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Interesting that. love the helix tube thing that looks great. Did it stink down there?
 

Newage

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Cracking set of pictures mate, still amazed we still missed one of the fuel tanks.

Next time......

Cheers Newage
 

Toadious

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You say a flex in the floor..
Would that mean potentially another lower tank below that one?

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Dirus_Strictus

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Would that mean potentially another lower tank below that one?

No. These installations were built very quickly with a limited lifespan envisaged. They were on very poor foundations, which have become undermined with time, in places. This and similar sites around the Country were inspected during the Suez crisis for intended reuse, but were found to be in poor condition.
 

Toadious

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So that's bad so a cavity due to erosion of some kind beneath it. Makes the whole thing it quite a potential of risk then.

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