Gnoll park starfish site

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Aug 19, 2015
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Gnoll park starfish site, South Wales

I must have walked past this site a 100 times before a fellow explorer told me about it.

There's not much to see here apart from the bunker(empty) which is on top of a small canyon.

Now for the info.........
Starfish sites were large scale night-time decoys created during The Blitz to simulate burning British cities. The aim was to divert night bombers from their intended targets and to drop their ordnance over the countryside. The sites were an extension of Colonel John Turner's decoy program for airfields and factories (code named "Q" Sites). Following the bombing and near destruction of Coventry in November 1940, Turner was tasked with creating decoys for 7 major cities.

Turner referred to the new sites "Special Fire" or "SF". However, one early site (near Bristol) was given the name "Starfish", which subsequently became used for all of the decoys. The sites were constructed around 4 miles from their protection target, and at least one mile from any other settlement. They consisted of elaborate light arrays and fires, controlled from a nearby bunker, laid out to simulate a fire bombed town. By the end of the war there were 237 decoys protecting 81 towns and cities around the country.

Starfish sites did attract the attention of enemy bombers; One estimate is that around 968 tons of ordnance was dropped on the decoys.

Following the night bombing of Coventry, in early November 1940, the decoy program was expanded to include towns and cities; the Air Ministry initially ordered sites to be set up for Bristol, Crewe, Derby, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough and Sheffield. The new "Special Fire" decoys were set up to simulate the bomb drops of German pathfinder squadrons. By 23 January 1941 the program had been increased to 43 sites protecting 13 town and cities and by March operational sites numbered over 100. By the end of the war there were 237 Starfish sites protecting 81 locations.

Here are some photo's of a starfish site in action..... (image source

Here is the site as it stands today.......

Thanks again for taking the time to read through my report,
I hope you enjoyed it and there will be more soon.

Peace out.
Last edited:


Sep 20, 2005
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Bristol, UK.
The bunker is usually the only thing left as everything else was temporary. Good to see another one, the story of decoy sites is a crazy one. Thanks for the post. :)

If you're particularly interested in decoys I highly recommend the book "Fields of Deception" which is an English Heritage publication, I think it's currently out of print but is available at good libraries.


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Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2013
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Nice to see a star fish site..there is one near me what I have visited a few times.totally overgrown.but exactly same sign.with the generator plinths still there.been a few kq sites too

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