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About

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is a unique place, ideally suited to building memories for you and your family.

Its story covers 100 years of life so far, combining feverish excitement interspersed with periods of calm and tranquillity. The aerodrome lies to the east of Chelmsford and west of Maldon in Essex, set within an area of gently rolling farmland. It comprises the largest known surviving group of RFC buildings on an WW1 aerodrome which was not adapted for further military use in its history – but that is only part of the tale.

It is an active aerodrome and Heritage site, an award-winning centre for community volunteering, a dedicated response to the challenges of isolation and mental health and houses a growing wealth of skills, research and knowledge. When considered together with its growing collections, ecological triumphs and its ongoing activities, a truly unique picture is formed. One of vibrancy and importance —nationally and internationally.

Opened in 1916 as home to B Flight of No 37(HD) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, the aerodrome saw the birth of the Air Defence of Great Britain in response to the first raids by Zeppelins and Gotha bombers on London and the South East.  It played a key role in the Battle for Britain (the first London Blitz) the following year. It was at Stow Maries that No 37 Squadron transitioned from the Royal Flying Corps to the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918. It continued in its dedicated role until Spring 1919 – when the RAF closed its doors forever. The existing buildings were repurposed or converted to residential & agricultural use and the airfield turned over to pasture.

Being left to its own devices, undisturbed, for so many years allowed the original occupant of the site to reclaim it— Nature. Our Ponds and meadows supports declining farmland species such as brown hare, corn bunting, yellowhammer and a variety of owls, including Barn owls and overwintering Short-eared owls. Endangered and rare species such as Water Voles and Badgers prosper here.

After existing silently for most of the last century, the Aerodrome was designated a conservation area in 2009. In 2012 all 24 surviving buildings were listed Grade II*. In 2013,  following a generous grant from the Heritage Memorial Fund, it was purchased and placed in the care of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Ltd, (SMGWA) a charitable trust.

Supported by an army of volunteers, the site has seen leaps forward. Hangars are now in place; aircraft are based here and the Mess once again turns out food for hungry pilots, crew and visitors. A shop, run solely by volunteers, sells novel gifts and goods that spark interest and nostalgia. Our award-winning exhibitions include the stories of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force (“RFC”) , original occupants of the site (“37 Sqn”), explore the female contributions (“Rule Britannia—the Women’s War”) and our connections to The Great War overseas (“St. Omer: The Great War”). We are developing new exhibitions every year. We have already have two fascinating hangars of aircraft, and aspire to build more.

Our Curatorial and award-winning Exhibition teams already have a significant reputation with national partners such as IWM, RAFM and NLHF and our Patrons include the Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jenny Tolhurst, Lord Petre, popular Historian Dan Snow and academic and historian Dr Saul David.  

We are a COVID-Secure (Visit England Good To Go) site that welcome families, individual enthusiasts or those with a passing interest. Dogs are welcome on a lead and our café can’t wait to grab you a slice of cake! Remember – admission to the shop and the Café – both housed in original buildings – is free!

If you would like to become part of this amazing story— pop in!

Guide Prices

Non-event days:

Adult: £9.00
Children 9-16 years: £3.00
Children 8 and under: FREE
Concessions (over 65): £7.00
Currently serving members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, and one guest, will receive free entry, on non-event days, upon production of an ID card.

English Heritage Members: 2-for-1 on regular adult tickets on non-event days only
Essex Pass Member: 2-for-1 on regular adult tickets on non-event days only

Event days:

Entrance fees for special event days will be as advised.

Facilities

Accessibility

  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets

Booking & Payment Details

  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)

Catering

  • On-site light refreshments

Children

  • Baby changing facilities
  • Children welcome

Groups

  • Facilities for educational visits
  • Guided tours for groups

Meeting, Conference & Wedding Facilities

  • Facilities for conferencing
  • Facilities for corporate hospitality

Parking

  • Free Parking

Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted
  • Gift shop
  • Guided tours for individuals
  • Public toilets
  • Smoking not allowed

Site Features

  • English Heritage Property

Target Markets

  • Accepts groups
  • Coach parties accepted

Map & Directions

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

Type:Museum - Transport

Hackman's Lane, Purleigh, Essex, CM3 6RJ

Tel: 01245 329358

Opening Times

General Admission (21 May 2021 - 13 June 2022)
DayTimes
Monday - ThursdayClosed
Friday - Sunday10:00 - 15:00

* Please book your visit in advance: https://www.stowmaries.org.uk/event-bookings/

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Previous Next

Number of results:

Number of results: 322

, currently showing 1 to 20.

  1. Address

    Devonshire Road, Southminster, CM0 7AW

    Telephone

    01621 773868

    Southminster

    Thousands of trees were planted that will develop into a mixed deciduous woodland. At the far side of the site is a footbridge providing access to a network of footpaths on adjoining farmland.

  2. Address

    Promenade Park, Park Drive, Maldon, Essex, CM9 5JQ

    Maldon

  3. Jacobs Farm Shop

    Address

    Jacobs Farm, Heybridge, Maldon, Essex, CM9 4YA

    Telephone

    01621 853395

    Maldon

    A wide selection of fresh fruit & vegetables

  4. Address

    Muslim Hall, Church St, Maldon, Essex, CM9 5HP

    Telephone

    +447904659177

    Maldon

    Located in Chruch Street Maldon, the centre is "To advance the Islamic religion in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. To advance the education of Muslim children in accordance with the tenets and doctrines of Islam."

  5. Address

    Mark Farm, The Hall Farm, North Street, Tillingham, Essex, CM0 7SP

    Telephone

    01621 778844

    Tillingham

    Sarah Green's Organics is situated in Tillingham on the east Essex coast, 50 miles east of London.

  6. Address

    Cherry Blossom Lane, Cold Norton, Essex, CM3 6JQ

    Telephone

    01621 829566

    Cold Norton

    Well equipped and maintained site in a pleasant setting with views to the north west towards the Blackwater estuary. Village hall, car park, football pitch, basketball court, skateboard ramps, childrens play site, wildflower meadow & copse.

  7. Address

    St Stephens Road, Cold Norton, Essex, CM3 6NP

    Telephone

    01621 829566

    Cold Norton

    Small wooded area with a pond in St Stephens Road. Picnic table and access for walking. Nearby lay by has parking for 2 cars.

  8. Address

    Great Totham, Essex, CM9 8NN

    Great Totham

    This fascinating walk explores the myriad of lanes and footpaths encircling the villages of Great Totham and Wickham Bishops, and in springtime provides the perfect opportunity to see Maldon District’s most spectacular display of bluebells in Shut…

  9. Address

    60A Victoria Rd, Maldon, Essex, CM9 5HF

    Telephone

    01621 782034

    Maldon

    The Assumption of our Lady, RC Church

  10. Address

    Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8ET

    Telephone

    01245 402019

    Chelmsford

    Set in the heart of rural Essex, and enjoying stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, RHS Hyde Hall is one of the finest gardens in the east of England and is a haven of peace and tranquillity.

  11. Address

    Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, CM0 7PW

    Bradwell-on-Sea

    The St Peter’s Way is a 45 mile walk meandering through the countryside of Essex, from Chipping Ongar to the ancient chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall at Bradwell on Sea.

  12. Address

    Tollesbury, Essex, CM9 8QU

    Tollesbury

    A fascinating walk around Tollesbury and the surrounding marshes. You might spot some of the locations used during the filming of ITV’s 2017 thriller ‘Liar’.

  13. Address

    Park Drive, Maldon, Essex, CM9 5JQ

    Maldon

    Maldon Bowling Club is a friendly and progressive club situated near The Promenade in the Blackwater town of Maldon in Essex. We have a playing membership of approximately 70 with approximately 20 social & honorary members. Bowling abilities range…

  14. Address

    Station Road, Southminster, Essex, CM0 7EW

    Telephone

    01621 773868

    Southminster

    One of the largest and best equipped parish fields in the Maldon District, this open, flat site is bordered to the south by a large flooded former gravel pit.

  15. Address

    The Square, Tillingham, Essex, CM07SU

    Telephone

    01621 779620

    Tillingham

    Grade II listed parish church located on the village square in Tillingham.

  16. Address

    Fambridge Road, North Fambridge, Essex, CM3 6NB

    Telephone

    01621 828244

    North Fambridge

    Facilities include a car park, football pitch, children's play site, and basketball net. Visitors should take care on leaving the site as visibility is restricted.

  17. Address

    Blue House Farm Chase, North Fambridge, Essex, CM3 6GU

    Telephone

    01621 862960

    North Fambridge

    Blue House Farm was bought by the Essex Wildlife Trust in 1998 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and many other donors.

  18. Address

    Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust, The Sail Lofts, Woodrolfe Road, Tollesbury, Essex, CM9 8SE

    Telephone

    01621868113

    Woodrolfe Road, Tollesbury

    Fellowship Afloat's centre is a unique place for adventure, relaxation and exploring the environment.
    Based on a converted lightvessel moored on the coast, it's an ideal activity venue for youth clubs, schools, churches, special needs groups and…

  19. Address

    South Street, Bradwell-On-Sea, Southminster, CM0 7QJ

    Telephone

    01621 773183

    Bradwell-On-Sea

    Attractive site, surrounded by hedgerows and with a number of mature oak trees. Village hall, car park, enclosed children's play area, basketball net, football pitch, picnic benches, youth shelter, BMX skills ramp.

  20. Address

    Vicarage Lane, Mundon, Essex, CM9 6PA

    Telephone

    01621 740920

    Mundon

    The church of St. Mary in Mundon is cared for by the Friends of Friendless Churches and it is now conserved as a Grade 1 listed medieval church.