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GES004 - Royal Ordinance Factory Hereford

ROF Hereford (aka Rotherwas Munitions Factory) - Site now demolished

August 2008

This is a look at the Munitions factory at Rotherwas, just outside Hereford. It was opened for WW I as a National Filling Factory (NFF), where it made various munitions, including folklore has it, Mustard Gas. Some of the outlying buildings were used to store it, as for obvious reasons it couldn't be stored near people.

The factory was closed down after WW I, but reopened again just before WW II, again as a filling factory only called Royal Ordinance Factory (ROF) not NFF. Shell cases would arrive from other ordinance factories, and they were filled with TNT, Cordite etc. Mainly very brave women did the work here. It suffered a bomb detonating in 1944, along with a fire and a German plane which dropped a bomb on it's return part of the mission. It has been abandoned since the war. Farmers use some of the buildings for storage.

The site is large and consists of the main factory building, which is still in tact. This building is surrounded by numerous small concrete oblong huts (bomb shelters?) and a few admin buildings. This area is sealed by a fence and heavily covered by trees and brambles. Half a mile to the South, are a line of 7 large storage buildings, still in use by the looks of things. Dotted about in the fields that surround the main factory building are at least 3 terrace strips of small storage buildings.

Potential visitors note, the Factory building area has MOD keep out notices. So involves criminal trespass. The other areas are on farmland, with farmers only to happy to say "get orf my land!"

Historians can try to get hold of John Edmonds - The History of Rotherwas Munitions Factory (Logaston Press)

This is where big site dereliction began for me as a teenager, high school chum and now Japanese explorer Matt (drzeus on UER) introduced me to the site. We went several times over the various school summers. I have to say it was a lot easier to get around in those days, also there wasn't the graffiti tags there are now.

While back in Hereford, I convinced my father to take me here so I could document it. My father bless him, didn't quite understand the principles of stealth, or how irate farmers can be. After dropping me off, I quickly disappeared and hoped the fence into a world of brambles. My father decided it would be a good idea to drive into the farmers field where access is obtained, and wait. Mr. Farmer didn't like this, so locked the gate to the field, with my father in it! My father, not a man known for being quiet and letting things blow over, went to free his car. And I thought I was the one having fun.

A string of storage units, allegedly for mustard gas storage.

Face on shot ot terrace building.

note that the main factory area is heavily overgrown, so it's next to impossible to get decent shots.

One of what i'm sure are bomb shelters. Taken from the roof, because it's too overgrown on the ground

Shooting in a wood is a nightmare if you foolishly rely on autofocus. These are blast walls.

Outbuilding

Buildings just merge into the undergrowth

Large storage buildings

More outlying buildings i didn't have time to get too.