Wiltshire Tourist Guide

Bed and Breakfast near Porton Down - Wiltshire

Bed and Breakfast near Porton Down is available in the nearby centre Salisbury, hamlets and villages close to the establishment.

There is notably accommodation and meals available at the Porton Railway Hotel in the village itself.

Accommodation Salisbury

Porton Down was established in 1916 to combat the use of mustard gas in the trenches during the First World War. A meteorological unit was also set up to advise the department and the establishment was under the control of The Trench Warfare Department of the War Office and known as the Royal Engineers Experimental station. Gas deployment and respirator protection research continued after the war ended involving the Royal Artillery as well as the Porton Down Research Flight at Netheravon, later Boscombe Down, airfields.

At the start of World War II although it was anticipated by building up and issuing protection and gas to high risk locations poison gas was never used. It was likely that the generation that endured the use of gas in the First World War and the unpredictability of using it as a weapon that decided both sides against its use.

However following the discovery of stockpiles of advanced chemical weapons held by the Germans after the war ended (for which the Allies had no antidote) led to increased research and development at Porton Down. During this time the work at Porton was shrouded in secrecy and very little was known about the activities apart from the occasional espionage scandals that surfaced in the media from time to time.

The two departments at Porton Down at the time were the Chemical Defence Establishment and Microbiological Research Establishment. In 1979 Porton Down was taken out of the Ministry of Defence to become the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) within the Public Health Laboratory (PHLS). Further name and department changes carried on for several years until 2001 when DERA split into two organisations Qinetiq, a private company the name of which could mean anything, and DsTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) which could mean lots of things. So it continues.

Fortunately we live in more enlightened times but the threat of war and terrorism from rogue states remain and the need to train troops and others in combating chemical warfare is as necessary now as it has ever been. Today there are many and varied research and development organisations at the establishment pursuing wholly peaceful and beneficial research.

A measure of this is the recent granting of a £10 million fund develop its projected Science Park and both encourage and concentrate technological expertise at the establishment.
It is of interest that the whole of the Porton Ranges are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and contains some of the rarest plants, animals and insects to be found in the UK.

If you are staying a few days at a bed and breakfast near Porton you may find time to visit some of the attractions that are close by. The Army Air Corps Museum is just up the road at Middle Wallop on the A30, the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection is on the Old Sarum airfield Business Park and the magnificent historic Salisbury Cathedral and its spectacular spire to mention just a few.

Bed and Breakfast near Porton Down