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Great Britain Cremyll WW2 Oil storage depot, near Plymouth, July 2019


Well-known member
Feb 27, 2021
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1. The History
At the time, searched high and low for info on this place but found absolutely nothing. Not a single shred of info anywhere on the internet.

2. The Explore
Previously I had explored a fuel storage site closer to Cremyll. It’s above ground and easy to reach, if nothing spectacular. However, subsequently saw a very old report on another forum with some underground tanks in the vicinity. What followed was a bit of research and thanks to good old OS maps, I managed to locate the four tanks. Hence on my next visit to Plymouth I took the ferry from Plymouth over the Tamar to Cremyll and then made the mile or so hike to where the path veered off the main road into the woods. It was easy enough to find the mound of Tank 1, although the entrance was a bit concealed. Having gone through the door it’s a left turn into a small valve room. There’s then a circular portal that you can climb through into the tank, presumably where a out pipe would have been. Inside the vast tank was flooded with 7-8” of water. Hence it was a wellies jobbie which I’d thankfully packed in my back-pack.

Inside it was pitch black and very, very echoey. The concrete ceiling was held up by a series of metal pillars, while the sides were constructed of iron sheets. In the centre was what appeared to be a spiral heating element – probably to keep the oil at a certain temperature so it remained pumpable. After a bit of light painting it was time to squeeze back through the portal and move on to Tanks 2 and 3. These were relatively close together. The layout was pretty much identical to Tank 1 although these two still had some of the hatches, pullies, valves and other bits of ironwork on the top of the tanks. There was also a nice winch outside Tank 2. Both were again flooded and looked identical to Tank 1 so didn’t go into these. Then it was back on the track and up the hill to Tank 4, the highest tank of the four. Again, a similar lay-out. However, this one was much dryer plus didn’t have the circular heating element. So, after more light painting it was time to pack up and walk up the hill, back to the main road and off to the next site.

Overall this was a really different place. Pretty much off the radar due to its rural location in woods. It’s the sort of place that you need good location intel on, but all-in-all, worth the effort.

3. The Pictures

The valve room here is the most complete:

img1866 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Into the tank we go:

img1858 by HughieDW, on Flickr

That spiral heating element:

img1856 by HughieDW, on Flickr

No scope for putting stuff down or knocking tripods over:

img1860 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Either the ‘out’ pipe or ‘in’ pipe:

img1862 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On to tank No.2:

Cremyll 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1871 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Complete with winch:

img1881 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1882 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The rusted entrance door:

img1875 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In addition to the valve room there was another empty storage space:

img1883 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The valve room was more far gone than the first and the worst condition of the four tanks:

Cremyll 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The entrance to tank no.3 was the cleanest:

img1884 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But the valve system is in a poor way:

Cremyll 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Cremyll 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But it had the most metalwork on the top:

img1885 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Including this pulley system:

img1887 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1888 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1889 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So finally, on to tank No.4:

Cremyll 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The value system is far less in-tact and very rust on this one. To the right is the hole you have to climb through:

img1900 by HughieDW, on Flickr

You can see the water is much shallower here. As I walked across the tank floor in one place the floor did a very disconcerting wobble!

img1893 by HughieDW, on Flickr

You can get a sense of the curvature of the tank on this picture:

img1898 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Back out again and here’s another hand winch:

img1906 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This is also the only tank to retain its metal service staircase:

img1907 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, some more hatches, valves and pipes:

img1908 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1910 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img1911 by HughieDW, on Flickr
Last edited:


Well-known member
Dec 16, 2013
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Really like that Hughie. Bet there's some interesting shots to be had with a bit of backlighting in there