“Still to this day we cannot believe that we were one of the lucky few to have access inside this Bunker after finding that we could get access via the air shaft (covered up now) “
“History of Hope Cove Bunker
Located in a commanding position, high above the Salcombe estuary is one of the finest examples in existence of a post-Second World War bunker, built-in secret by transporting tonnes of concrete and materials by heavy trucks through the sleepy lanes of Higher Soar. It is reported that local residents only found out what was being constructed by the reports of a late-night poacher! The bunker was fully kitted out and ready for action by 1954 and was all set to be connected to a massive, newly constructed Type 80 radar, located close by. Due to the rapid advancement of radar technology, however, the radar never became operational.
The building was actively used between January 1956 and September 1957, after which it briefly became the RAF Fighter Control School. In 1958, following the departure of the RAF, the bunker was transferred to The Home Office for conversion into a Regional Seat of Government that would control the South West of England in the event of a nuclear war. The bunker was not large enough to house a full complement of staff, so the old wartime Happidrome was refurbished and used for additional accommodation. A new generator room was built at this time which is still on site and operational.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Government re-organisation, staffing levels were reduced and the Happidrome demolished. The bunker closed its doors and was sold to private purchasers in the 1990s who set about maintaining the bunker which, as at the present day, is in surprisingly good standard, considering its age and construction methods available in the 1950s. It is packed full of many of the original features and contents, most of which are included within the sale, including maps in the large mezzanine plotting room, the vast air conditioning plant room and teak flooring which would not look out of place in the dining room of a stately home. The bunker has been used for a variety of uses including secure archive storage and it recently proved to be a successful venue for an art exhibition