Sopley was an R3 (two level) Ground Control Intercept station and was completed in April 1953.

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The Rotor Station is located at SZ163977 on the west side of a minor road half a mile north of Sopley village. It is contained within a large secure compound with a very low mound giving little evidence to the unsuspecting passer by that there is a bunker beneath.

The guardhouse is not the standard bungalow design as it has an overhanging flat roof, similar to that at Portland. The building is pained white. The only other buildings on the site are the former generator house alongside which has now been stripped out and is used as a garage and a small blockhouse near the south west corner of the compound which houses the emergency exit.

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There is no indication on the property as to who owns it and what business is conducted there and at the request of the owners we cannot publish that information although I believe it is fairly common knowledge. We were allowed to see everywhere in the bunker below but were only allowed to photograph those areas and rooms that did not show any evidence of the business that was being conducted at the site.

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We entered the bunker down a small stairway at the back of the guardhouse which leads to the top of the sloping 50 yard  access tunnel into the bunker. At the bottom of this tunnel the corridor goes round a Z bend containing two blast doors to the main upper spine corridor. Just before the Z bend is one of the two main transformers which is now out of use and the original 1950's intercom system which is working and used by the owners. At this point is the main stairway down to the lower level with its hoist still
in place for lifting items up from the well below.

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All the rooms on both sides of the main corridor have been adapted for new uses apart from the kitchen on the right hand side which still contains its cooker. At the far end of the corridor is the secondary stairway down to the lower level and another Z bend with two more blast doors. The second transformer is located at this point together with the original sewage plant which is still operational. The stairs up to the emergency exit are still in
place with empty cable ways along both walls.


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We descended the stairs to the lower floor where we were surprised to find the main plant room still intact and fully functional with am impressive array of 1950's plant including compressors, ventilation plant, freezing plant, fans, control panels and cabinets, filters etc. Everything was almost identical to the plant we had seen at Hope Cove a few weeks before but in better condition and all still working. This is probably not surprising as
Hope Cove (R6) is just a surface version of an R3 bunker like Sopley.

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At this point we had to end our all too short visit. We drove home via the dispersed camp on the north side of Derritt Lane which is intact and put to other uses.

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