The abandoned nuclear bunker hidden beneath a golf course in Greater Manchester

The open hatch at the entrance of the underground, Cold War relic
The open hatch at the entrance of the underground, Cold War relic -Credit:John Harris |

For anyone born in the last 30 years, it's difficult to understand the fears surrounding nuclear war people experienced, even into the 1980s. At one time, public information broadcasts on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack were common, with children aware of the serious conversations surrounding the possibility of nuclear war.

Among relics from this era are the abandoned subterranean bunkers scattered throughout the British countryside that most people will never notice or get to see inside. During the Cold War, the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) had monitoring posts all over the UK including Greater Manchester.

Built to a standard design, the underground posts were built with a shaft leading down to a monitoring room with a toilet/store. Part of the country's civil defence, they were built at a time when there was very real fear of a nuclear war.

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ROC bunkers were secret monitoring stations built to record the blast and fallout in the event of a nuclear strike. Over 1,500 ROC monitoring posts were built using reinforced concrete in Britain during the Cold War.

The walls of the underground structure would be around seven inches thick. The whole bunker was waterproofed with bitumen and soil compacted overhead, leaving an airshaft sticking out of the ground.

Long ladder leading down into the bunker from the hatch above
Long ladder leading down into the bunker from the hatch above -Credit:John Harris |

Around half of ROC posts were closed in 1968 due to changes within the broader organisation which saw it become smaller. Today, most lie derelict and abandoned. It's thought around half of the posts built have now been demolished.

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Recently, John Harris, who runs the fascinating Derelict Manchester website, managed to access an abandoned ROC bunker located near Turton Golf Club in Bolton. Built around 1964 and operational by 1965, it's one of a handful of surviving ROC monitoring posts dotted around Greater Manchester, only closing in 1991.

Click below to view the full gallery of images of the ROC bunker

The Turton ROC post has intact surface features, according to Subterranea Britannica. The hatch at the entrance was at one point welded shut with reports it was recently hidden by "a big pile of manure".

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It also appears that at some point, vandals had gained access to the bunker as there are signs of fire damage and graffiti in the underground rooms. Despite the damage, this curious relic remains a monument to a particularly dangerous time for Britain and the rest of the planet.

Does this story awaken any memories for you? Let us know in the comments section below.