RAF Upper Heyford – Upper Heyford, England - Atlas Obscura
RAF Upper Heyford is permanently closed.

RAF Upper Heyford

Upper Heyford, England

A rotting air force base is now home to rare birds and scarce plants. 


Royal Air Force, Upper Heyford was a Royal Air Force station located 5 miles outside of Bicester but thanks to budget cuts and a damnable peace, the airstrips and bunkers now sit dormant, slowly being taken back by an enemy they didn’t expect: nature.

During the Cold War, Upper Heyford initially served as a base for United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) strategic bombers and later United States Air Forces In Europe (USAFE) tactical reconnaissance, fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft in the UK. With the end of the Cold War however, the presence of the 20th TFW was deemed no longer necessary in England. Thus the presence of active military at RAF Upper Heyford was gradually phased down until no one remained.

Peregrine falcon, skylark, buzzards and other uncommon birds now rule the quiet landing strips while rare grasses push through the cracking concrete. Some of the buildings on the base are still used for vehicle storage in a half-hearted attempt to keep the site from giving itself back to the land entirely, and a few of the residential spaces are also inhabited with tenacious renters. However unless something drastic happens, the formerly strategic RAF Upper Heyford may disappear beneath the natural camouflage. 

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