Black and White, Landscape, Photography

Abandoned Airfield

I live very near to Davidstow Moor airfield. It’s not a working airfield these days; more a flat and high altitude set of remnants of one, with some current usage by hobbyist model aircraft and microlight flyers, learner drivers and some more umm… different hanging about in less social hours.

The airfield played an active part in WW11 though, earlier as the base for some bombing raids over the submarine pens of northern France and then patrol and air sea rescue missions over the Bay of Biscay and approaches to the English and Bristol channels. At the end of the war the military usage ceased and it briefly become a motor racing circuit. There are a couple of museums nearby with artefacts and articles telling the stories more fulsomely.

Wartime airfields were, by necessity, in otherwise pretty windswept, desolate and sparse places. Long time abandoned ones seem to have left with even more of that crumbling air. There is a flying club up there, making use of some parts of the old concrete runways, and huddling in the end of one of the buildings, but otherwise there is a sense that it is just a place to let some sheep roam about while the history and the buildings around it are gradually falling down, graffitied, littered and abused.

Anyway, I went up there to explore and take some pictures, hoping to capture the atmosphere of the abandonment. I had deliberately waited for a grey and threatening day for the moody light it gives but to be honest, it’s pretty bleak even in full sunshine.

A long way from my usual landscapes of the gorgeous countryside around here but a good reminder that this Cornwall, home to 400,000 people all year but hosting 4 million in the high tourist season, has a core that is only left to decline and rot, even while the visitors have been enjoying all the pretty places from on the telly.



28 thoughts on “Abandoned Airfield”

    1. Thanks, I was a little worried about this post because of a lack of ‘traditional’ beauty but I am glad that people are seeing the real and gritty side as well as the postcard views.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, glad there are people liking them! I thought perhaps they were a bit strong for people who like my ‘normal’ stuff.


    1. Thanks Nilla.
      I’ve only been a B&W photographer in the digital era really, the ease of swapping around and trying stuff out economically was freeing, especially for a low waged camera store clerk with a family in those early days.
      Once I joined a big manufacturer and I had big aluminium cases of sample digital products to play with, well… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A great way to learn.
        You’re ‘slightly’ younger than me! I grew up with film an it’s still my preferred medium.

        Even with my digital camera, I set it to monochrome when I see something I know will look good in B&W. I never convert from colour to B&W and hate post-production.

        Had a long online discussion a few months’ ago with a ‘professional photographer’ that argued with me people don’t see in B&W – I totally disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The joys of art, there are many ways and techniques to work with and they’re all valid.
          Don’t get me wrong, I was ‘in the industry’ (working photo retail) since 1986 and sales managing with a big five camera maker since 2000. I grew up with film, sold darkroom equipment and printing papers and did some of my own developing and printing too. I was just never able to control the output to my liking by getting it done commercially (and couldn’t afford or commit space for all the darkroom gear with a young family while still on retail wages) so didn’t do it until digital made it possible.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah right, now I understand. One of my part-time jobs whilst in high school, was sales in a camera store also – a great way to learn about equipment. 🙂

            I think a film camera gives you valuable lessons and grounding in photography – but maybe I’m just a dinosaur!

            I have all my darkroom gear in storage in my garage in Australia. I used to set it all up in my bathroom or a laundry, depending where I was living and the space.

            I don’t have any darkroom gear here in Italy. 😦

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear, point me to your results when you post them!
      Handy thing, you don’t have to wait for a good weather day to try it… in fact, better when it’s not I think (and if you don’t mind weaving around, avoiding potholes and sheep, you can generally drive around it on the runways!) 😉


  1. Bear, I think these photos of yours are beautiful, and they capture the desolate nature of the abandoned airfield just perfectly. Abandonment photos bring up so much emotion – sadness, loneliness, and a longing to know what once was. Your photos do this. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Erin, the history is there too. Interesting museums nearby tell the stories which makes the decay seem disrespectful but I suppose its inevitable.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s definitely a monochrome subject, possibly colour might work for the graffiti close ups and perhaps some details of nature reclaiming…
      Hmm… another visit due!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ellen. It was a moody look and a more ‘gritty’ approach to the photography than I usually post so nice to hear when people are liking them.


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