RAF Holbeach Bombing Range
RAF Holbeach Bombing Range
RAF Holbeach is parented by RAF Marham. It is a remote Bombing Range located on the Lincolnshire coast around 8 miles North-North-East of Holbeach. 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadon based at RAF Marham have the task of clearing the targets of spent ordnance.
RAF Wainfleet weapons range is 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. Although an RAF facility, RAF Wainfleet employs a number of civilian workers whom manage the facility maintenance, assist in the control tower with target scoring and deal with ordnance clearance from the range. In this way the range makes an important contribution to local economy.
The range is used by RAF, USAF and other European air forces for bombing and strafing practice. Rather surprisingly, it also provides a haven for wildlife and this is a major consideration when planning operations. The current 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 icluding 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 whether you are here to watch the aircraft or to enjoy the countryside, please ensure that you obey the range warning signs. Remember, it has 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 AND REPORT IT TO THE RANGE WARDEN!