The Northumberland Beehive Pillbox
Northumberland ‘Beehive’ Pillboxes
It is located half way between Alnwick and Rothbury on the B6341 road, NGR: NU 12435 09377. It is close to the edge of the road by a small lay-by but unless you know where it is you’ll easily miss it. The site is in a low point between two hills and stands on the north side of a stream.
The crags mentioned in an e-mail to the PSG are to the north east of the pillbox and are called Corby Crags, popular with climbers.
The pillbox has a good field of fire over the valley towards Edlingham. Why the pillbox is located there is unknown. It is not part of a stop-line and the countryside round about would be hard to move troops across. It is, however, close to a dismantled railway line.
Passing this pillbox on Friday 4th September 2015 I was appalled to see that it had been mostly destroyed.
There are a number of `Beehive` pillboxes in the area all of similar construction. Possibly all built by the same people. There were many troops camped at Thropton who could possibly have been the builders.
A single ‘Beehive’ is located in the front garden of a house in Thropton covering the bridge and probably had a road block located with it. It is in fair condition with no public access and it was going to be demolished when new houses were constructed behind the Cross Keys Public House. NGR: NU 033 023
Alnwick has a line of three ‘Beehives’ on the NE side of the town and are positioned to cover the bend in the River Aln.
Two are slightly smaller with two embrasures and the central pillbox is larger with three. Two pillboxes are located on the west side of the A1 bypass whilst the other is well hidden under a tree in the front garden of a farm house and is in poor condition and overgrown.
Middle Pillbox (3 embrasures)
Whalton village has a ‘Beehive’ pillbox in the hedge SW of the main road through the village. It is located on the west side of the B6524. Head through the village from the North East and the site is in the hedge on the road out of the village after the right angled corner.
Bothal village is another site for a ‘Beehive’ covering the bridge from the saw mill.
It is half buried in the bank and has a lot of mud and debris inside. The corrugated iron roof is starting to collapse.
Scrogg Hill near Dunstanburgh Castle has two ‘Beehives’ one facing north and the other faces east.
Mitford had two ‘Beehives’ both with road blocks guarding the bridges, but both have now gone.
Morpeth had a ‘Beehive’ on the east side of Oldgate Bridge along with a road block but this has disappeared.
Approximately half way between Morpeth and Mitford at the bridge west of the rugby club there was again a ‘Beehive’/roadblock. Unfortunately, it has also disappeared.
Spital Point, Newbiggin By The Sea
Sandbag construction for pillboxes up here seems to have been popular. It may have been for ease of moving materials around or the lack of concrete. A planned 5 mile line of tank blocks along the River Wansbeck was cancelled because of a lack of concrete and man power to build it which is a bit odd when you consider how many concrete ‘Lozenge’ pillboxes there are in Northumberland.
Shortridge Hall, Warkworth
Other Sand Bag Pillboxes
A ruined pillbox is still visible on the dunes south of Blyth. This is more the Cumberland style sand bag pillbox as found at Silloth if I remember correctly.
Another can be seen intact, though bricked up, on the end of the dunes, opposite the Melton Constable Pub, at Seaton Sluice.
There are a few along the coast on the beaches though none I know of are much more than rubble now.
There are remains at the south side of Seahouses on the edge of the golf course by a line of blocks.
Warkworth beach has a lot of sand bag scatter and a couple of broken pillboxes.
Another site is at Greenhill rocks approx. Half way between Bamburgh and Seahouses.