Wiltshire Tourist Guide

Bed and breakfast near Middle Wallop - Wiltshire

Bed and breakfast near Middle Wallop is available in the rural surrounds but there is a wider choice of accommodation available at nearby Salisbury.

Accommodation Salisbury

Apart from limited accommodation in the Wallops within 10 minutes drive of Middle Wallop you will find both family and business B&B; accommodation in the villages of Porton, Winterslow, and Winterbourne Gunner all situated just off the A30. If you are seeking hotel or pub accommodation there is a good selection in the cathedral city of Salisbury which is about 30 minutes away.

The Wallops are a group of three villages on the edge western edge of the Hampshire Wiltshire border. They are archetypal English country villages of thatched cottages and were chosen as the setting for the filming of the earlier Miss Marple series.

During the Second World War the airfield at Middle Wallop playing a leading role in the defence of the UK and is now the centre for Army flying training and HQ of The Army Air Corps.

Built initially as a bomber station Middle Wallop airfield became operational as a training base in 1940. It was very soon decided that it would be ideal as a fighter station in August of that year. Operating Hurricanes and Spitfires from both Middle Wallop and the forward satellite airfield at RAF Warmwell near Dorchester in Dorset several squadrons of fighters were based at the airfield operating over Southern England and the English Channel. The airfield was regularly attacked and severely damaged by the Luftwaffe all through the autumn of 1940. Despite this the airfield continued to operate throughout the onslaught to play a pivotal role in the defence of the UK. As the Battle of Britain progressed through the autumn of 1940 the enemy flew increasingly at night. Middle Wallop with its ineffective night fighting capacity using the slow Bristol Blenheims was losing the battle until the arrival of the ‘little black boxes’ namely airborne radar which was to revolutionise the role.

The tide was dramatically turned by the introduction of the faster Bristol Beaufighters, one of the most feared nightfighters of the war, equipped with upgraded radar interception equipment. This increasing success of the new breed of night fighters using top secret airborne radar led to the myth that the pilots were able to see in the dark by eating carrots (the unpopular civilian staple diet during food rationing).

As the war progressed and being close to the experimental airfield at Boscombe Down all sorts of bizarre and often dangerous experiments were carried out by aircraft from Middle Wallop such as dropping mines suspended on piano wire from parachutes through the armadas of German bombers crossing Southern England or flying night interceptors equipped with powerful searchlights. By spring of 1945 the role of defence gave way to attack and the airfield expanded more and more into the surrounding countryside.

For the remainder of the war Middle Wallop airfield was home to numerous squadrons and types of aircraft many of them operated by crews from all over the British Empire. At the end of the war the Royal Naval Air Services took over the airfield and renamed it HMS Flycatcher. The main function during this period was the administration of carrier based aircraft returning to onshore airfields for maintenance and training and very little flying took place from the station. The airfield was handed back to the RAF in 1946 and became operational again with several squadrons reforming and moving through to other bases or in some cases disbanding. For several years it became The Air Observation Training unit which moved on to the airfield and in the mid 50’s the RAF resumed training at the base.

Although development and use of helicopters was still very much in its infancy the Army’s support role was provided by the RAF but in 1955 a experimental Joint Helicopter unit was set up at Middle Wallop. It very soon became apparent that the Army needed their own dedicated fixed wing and helicopter support and in 1957 Middle Wallop airfield was handed to the Army Air Corps. The Army Air Corps initially provided air observation, reconnaissance, artillery fire control and limited movement of men and materials. Other roles developed including forward air control and radio relay and its role has continued to evolve into what is today’s Army support role.

If you are staying at bed and breakfast near Middle Wallop there is the Museum of Army Flying adjacent to base on the Salisbury A30 trunk route full of interesting exhibits and aircraft relating the history of the Army Air Corps. Other attractions in the immediate area include the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection of test aircraft housed in a hangar at Old Sarum airfield just outside Salisbury, Old Sarum Castle (which predates Salisbury) which overlooks the same airfield, Salisbury Cathedral and its spectacular spire as well as a myriad of other interesting historic places to visit.

Bed and Breakfast near Middle Wallop