Ibsley Control Tower, Mockbeggar

Ibsley Control Tower, Mockbeggar

Ibsley Control Tower combines so much that is of interest to those appreciative of atmosphere. Ibsley was a very busy RAF airfield in the last proper war. It was the location for a morale-boosting wartime movie starring David Niven, and was taken over by the Americans in 1943. Ibsley played a major role in the D-Day invasion. It survived for precious few years, the airfield having been lost, almost entirely, to gravel abstraction. All that is left is a ruined and forlorn watch office (control tower) surrounded by lakes, now known as Mockbeggar Lakes, with wooded islands.

There is undeniable atmosphere, and a definite sense of foreboding due to graffiti and drug-related litter suggesting regular use as a rendezvous for illicit nocturnal activity - which seems all the more strange when one considers the affluent and respectable New Forest village setting. Looking closely at the daubed and battered walls it is just possible to make out three forces' sweethearts painted by US airmen. Well meaning plans to save and restore the building have come to nothing and, unfortunately, its complete demise seems imminent. Ibsley Tower is on private land belonging to the gravel company, but its isolation and neglect would suggest that trespass for the sake of curiosity is unlikely to be a problem.

It can be viewed lawfully from the north-western most corner of Fir Walk, public access woodland a quarter of a mile to the south of the village of Mockbeggar, which itself is just off the A338, about two miles north of Ringwood.

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