Home On The Range

RAF Wainfleet weapons range was one of two such facilities situated on The Wash, the other being RAF Holbeach, there is also RAF Donna Nook to the north of Wainfleet at North Somercotes. RAF Wainfleet closed as an active air weapons range in December 2009, a number of the civilian workers were employed to manage the facility maintenance and assist with ordnance clearance from the range but the site is now unmanned.

The range wais used by RAF, USAF and other European air forces for bombing and strafing practice. Rather surprisingly, during it's active period it also provided a haven for wildlife and this was a major consideration when planning operations. The range boundaries cover an area of 42 square kilometers and extend from the low water mark to the sea bank from Wainfleet Sands to the north-east and to Friskney Flats in the south-west. The casual observer sees only a bleak and inhospitable area of coastline, but the sands and marshes are an ideal habitat for the flora and fauna which remain largely undisturbed by the general public.

The Wash marshes are of great importance to nature conservation and the range area is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). During the winter months thousands of Brent geese arrive from their breeding grounds along the Arctic coast to feed on Zoster weed which grows on the foreshore. Unfortunately they are also partial to winter wheat much to the dismay of local farmers!

Barn Owls and Marsh Harriers regularly patrol dykes in search of food and there have been frequent sightings of Merlin.

In summer there is a wide range of immigrant birds including such rarities as Black Redstarts and Isabelline Wheatears which in 1993 successfully reared their young in the area. A great variety of wading birds are always busy on the mudflats following the tides in and out.

Many other birds and animal species inhabit this area such as Curlews, Plovers and Redshanks. Seals can be seen in the summer months with their pups basking on the sand bars and creeks to the SW of the range.

Flora includes many rare marsh plants as well as more common varieties such as Sea Lavendar and Samphire.

Visitors are welcome to the range but please ensure that you obey the range warning signs. Remember, it had been an active range for over 100 years so if you find anything suspicious, don't take it home and put it on your mantlepiece ..........LEAVE IT!

The Range

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Last updated:
12 April, 2011