Key Facts

World War II Treasure Restored in Wellesley Woodlands

31 May 2016

One of the last remaining WWII pillboxes in the area has been restored to its former glory after being uncovered in the Wellesley Woodlands in Aldershot.

The Pillbox was discovered covered in ivy during the towpath upgrade works being carried out along the Basingstoke Canal between Ash Lock and Eelmoor Bridge. Built during World War II, the pillbox, a small hidden concrete building where soldiers could hold off invaders, was created as part of Aldershot’s General Headquarters Line (GHQ Line).

Once uncovered, Grainger contacted The Pillbox Study Group to discuss and agree restoration works. These were then carried out by Millgrove Construction. The works to restore the pillbox included removing the undergrowth covering the building and replacing missing brickwork that had broken away.

Alan Chitson, Development Manager at Grainger, said:  “We are delighted to have uncovered this historical structure along the Basingstoke Canal towpath route. Aldershot is full of historical military gems and at Grainger we are committed to bringing many of these back to their former glory so they can be shared and enjoyed by the public.”

Tim Denton, Amateur Military Archaeologist and member of The Pillbox Study Group, said: “A rare piece of history has been uncovered in Aldershot’s Wellesley Woodlands. Working together with Grainger, Millgrove and The Land Trust, we have been able to restore this important historic building.”

Pillboxes were built as a defence tool along the coast, around industrial cities, along rivers and canals and by railways so that troops could hold off enemy invaders long enough for other mobile soldiers to arrive.

David Fern, of Millgrove Construction said: “We are delighted to have restored one of these iconic historic buildings in Aldershot. We worked with The Pillbox Study Group to ensure that the new brickwork is as closely matched to the existing building as possible.”

The pillbox sits within the Wellesley Woodlands, an area of over 110 hectares of green space in Aldershot.  The woodlands are managed in partnership by Grainger, the Land Trust and the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership.