WE177A atomic bomb © Atomic Weapons Research Establishment

WE177A atomic bomb

See inside a secret site

The Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) site is dangerous and so access is restricted. Because of the unstable state of the structures and the presence of deep pits and drops only escorted access is possible.

You can visit the Pagodas on a guided tour, when you'll also learn why they were built and what they were used for.


    Information Building

    This former site head quarters, briefly the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment administrative base, then became the security office and a telephone exchange. Now you can look inside and find displays about the island and a real (decommissioned) atomic bomb.

    Don't forget to write a comment in the visitor book.

  • Uninterrupted views from Bomb Ballistics © John Griffin

    Bomb Ballistics

    Built in 1933 to house advanced technical equipment including Vinten 100 and then Vinten 300 cameras, this was the centre of operations for the bombing range. In use for over 40 years you can learn how the bombing range operated and evolved at the forefront of ballistics testing.

  • Uninterrupted views from Bomb Ballistics © John Griffin

    Black Beacon

    Built to house an experimental radio apparatus, this enigmatic building housed a secret: a marine navigation beacon to the outside world but in reality a homing beacon for military aircraft. This area was later the site of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment technical HQ and telemetry station.

    Climb to the upper level viewing station for views across the sea and shingle.

  • Uninterrupted views from Bomb Ballistics © John Griffin

    Power House

    Standing next to the Black Beacon yet built four years after it, a generator within supplied power to the 'marine navigation beacon'. The beacon had been powered from elsewhere on site - why did it need a generator now? A power cable also ran out to the newly built Bomb Ballistics building some distance away.

    Look inside to learn about the spit's natural history.