The Ordnance Society

Ordnance & Artillery of All Periods


If you would like to be informed automatically of ALL FUTURE Ordnance Society visits, then please click on the “Follow the Ordnance Society” button under “FOLLOW THE ORDNANCE SOCIETY BY E-MAIL” in the right-hand column.  This ensures that all “NEWS” items will be e-mailed to you as soon as they appear on the web-site and these will include brief notes about future visits as well as all the other “NEWS” items.

Our Visits Secretary, Neil Grant also organises visits for Friends of the Tank Museum and other groups, so the number and variation of trips has increased considerably. The numbers for a visit will often have a maximum, so please ensure that you use the automatic notification method outlined above in order to apply in good time.

Please note that Ordnance Society reserves the right to refuse any visit applications, particularly where access to or within the visit site are restricted.




The list of our visits and activities for the year are below.  Spaces on some of the events are limited, so if you are interested in attending any of these events, please contact

The Crofton Beam Engines Visit date has only just been confirmed on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May – so if you wish to join the visit, please contact Neil Grant AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.


Given the Covid situation, we have emphasised outdoor events this year


There are a couple of events which will happen this year, but we’re still waiting confirmation of the dates.  We’ve indicated when we hope these will happen, but they depend on the dates we are given by third parties and may change.  We’ll try to update this as soon as the dates are finalised.


Prehistoric Butchery (10 April, £80)

Last year we did the “flint knap your own prehistoric stone tools” workshop, so we’re following up with teaching you how to use stone tools to butcher a deer.  You don’t have to have attended the previous workshop – flint tools will be provided, and using modern steel is an option for those who just want to learn basic butchery.  Our instructor will be Karl Lee, who appeared on the recent “Attenborough & The Mammoth’s Graveyard” TV programme


Western-style Carbine shooting (TBA April, £40)

A chance to shoot full bore western style lever action carbines at an indoor range in Birmingham.  The session starts on. .22 semi-automatics to teach the basics, before switching to the full bore (.357 & .44) carbines.  Ammunition is included; you will get around 40-50 shots, with a variety of weapons.


Falconry – Hawks and Owls (30 April, £70)

A half day hands on session with a number of birds, located in Northamptonshire.  Places are limited to ensure each participant gets enough time with the birds, but we’ll try to arrange extra sessions if not everyone can fit on the first session.


Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access I (01 May, £15)

Something unusual for the old Celtic festival of Beltane!  This is one of two special stone circle access trip that allows a limited number of people inside the rope barriers around the monument, and into the circle itself.  We get an hour inside the circle for photography etc, and there will be a short, optional talk pointing out some features not normally visible from outside the circle.  Note that this trip is in the early morning before the circle opens to the public and will allow you to visit the exhibition at the visitor centre afterwards, which the evening trip in September won’t.


Crofton Beam Engines (2 May, Bank Holiday Monday, £10.75)

A visit to the Victorian static steam engines near Marlborough, which pumped water for the Kennet & Avon canal; the engines will be in steam!


Horse Archery Day (8 May, £185)

This session is Hertfordshire.  It starts with a short ground session teaching the specialist horse archery draw before mounting up and learning to apply the knowledge on horseback.  You need to be able to ride to at least a basic standard for this session – at beginner level the targets are in a straight line, and the horses are well trained to run straight.


The Shuttleworth Collection (15 May £18)

A visit to a collection of historic aircraft and vehicles in Bedfordshire


Tank Driving Day (21 May, £250)

Pretty much what it says on the tin – you get to drive four different military vehicles – a Chieftain tank, Abbott self-propelled gun, Stormer load carrier and FV432 APC.  This is located near Winchester, no prior experience necessary


Vulcan Bomber Cockpit Experience (22 May, £15)

A chance to get on board one of the most iconic British cold war aircraft.  We get a walk around the aircraft with the ground crew, who will talk us through how to arm, fuel and maintain the aircraft.  We will then see the aircraft being powered up from ground power, so we can see control surfaces move, open the bomb bay doors etc.  Finally, we get into the cockpit for a talk from former air crew about flying the aircraft operationally.


Greenham Common Control Tower & Walk (29 May, donation)

A visit to the control tower of the old Cold War airbase, including an exhibition. and a walk around the rest of the former airbase to look at other areas


Fresh Air Sculpture Festival (18 June, £10)

A festival of modern outdoor sculpture, with over 100 pieces on show and located in Oxfordshire.  Hey, nobody can say we don’t include cultural events 🙂


Bronze Age Axe Casting (15, 16th & 17th July, £100)

A day with an experimental archaeologist learning to make a mould from clay, melt the metal using period technology and then cast your own bronze axe that you can finish by removing the flash and take away at the end of the day.  Each course is only one day, but we’re running three days as only a limited number of people can be accommodated on each


Axe & Knife Throwing Workshop (24 July, £45)

A half-day session learning to throw tomahawks, axes and throwing knives, located near Bath.  No previous experience is necessary, and the session will be tailored to the people attending, so if you want you can concentrate on axes or whatever


Indoor Skydiving (14 August, £75)

This basically uses a wind tunnel standing on its end, with fans powerful enough to suspend you in the air as if you are flying.  You start by learning to hold a stable position, then you will be shown how to manoeuvre yourself within the air column and even do aerobatic manoeuvres.  The package includes 4 sessions in the tube, each roughly as long as a free-fall from 18,000 feet


Army Small Arms School (17 August, suggested donation)

A guided tour around the army’s own gun collection, which contains examples of pretty much every weapon the army has issued, tested or captured since the 1870s.  Even better, it’s a working collection, not a museum, so there unless something goes wrong, there will also be a handling session with some of the weapons.


Vintage Bus to Imber Restricted Village (20 August, pay on day)

In 1943, the village of Imber (near Warminster) was requisitioned for military training.  The civilian population was never able to return after the war, and the village continued to be used for urban combat training.  As it is in the middle of a restricted military area, it is not normally accessible except for one day a year, when a special service runs trips out to it in vintage red routemaster double decker buses.  Note the date above is provisional, and will be confirmed after Easter


Stonehenge Stone Circle Special Access II (10 September, £15)

This is the second of two special stone circle access trip that allows a limited number of people inside the rope barriers around the monument, and into the circle itself.  We get an hour inside the circle for photography etc, and there will be a short, optional talk pointing out some features not normally visible from outside the circle.  Note that this trip is in the early evening after the circle is closed to the public, which may work better for people coming a long way, but means you won’t be able to visit the exhibition at the visitor centre afterwards as you can with the May trip.


Pottery Day (9 October, £80 – NEW DATE & PRICE:- 21 September, £60)

A one day pottery course for beginners, with no prior experience necessary, located in Wiltshire


Tank Paintball (25 September, £110)

You will be assigned to a team of three for each tank (ok, truth in advertising, actually an FV432 with a Rarden turret, which is close enough for this purpose) and everyone gets to try out as driver, gunner and commander.  You then sort out which of you takes each of those roles as you take your tank (….see previous) out to do paintball battle against other teams in their tanks.  The day also includes free entry to the Armageddon Military Museum.  Located near Rugby


Vickers Machine Gun Collection (16 October, £10)

A definite must for anyone with an interest in the Great War, this gives us an afternoon of hands-on access to a very extensive collection of…well, pretty much everything to do with these iconic weapons. The visit will include a talk and handling, as well as setting up a Vickers and demonstrating it using blank ammunition.  The collection is located near Swindon



The relevant Newsletter which contains a description of these visits can be found in the Subject Index under ‘Society Meetings and Visit Reports’

A.W.E. Aldermaston 2015
BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness 2001
Birmingham Gun-Barrel Proof House 2007
Boscombe Down 2002
Bovington and Holton Heath 1996
(I) Calais, Todt Battery & V3 Site 1998
(II) Calais, V2 Sites 2000
Day In Essex (Coalhouse Fort and Tilbury Fort) 2002
Dover & Dover Turret 1994
Eskmeals and Kirkcudbright 1997
Fort Amherst & R.E.M.E. Museum, Chatham 2009
Fort Halstead 1992
Fort Nelson, Portsmouth 2003
Helicopter Museum, Weston Super Mare 2017
Kineton, B.O.D. 1993
Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Museum 2016
Mary Rose, Behind the Scenes, Portsmouth 2015
Naval Ordnance Museum, Priddy’s Hard (now ‘EXPLOSION‘) 1991
Ordnance Disposal School & Museum, Chattenden 1990
P & EE, Lavington 1994
P & EE, Pendine 1994
Pattern Room, Nottingham 1991
(I) P.E.E. Shoeburyness 1990
(II) P.E.E. Shoeburyness 1992
Portsmouth Dockyard 1995
Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst 2016
(I) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham 1991
(II) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham 1992
(III) Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham 1996
Rotunda, Museum of Artillery 1989
Thames Forts boat trip 1998
Waltham Abbey, Royal Gunpowder Mills 1999
Warminster and Larkhill 1992
Warminster Small Arms School Corps Weapons Collection 2008
Western Rifle Shooting 2017
Whale Island, Portsmouth 2003
Whitechapel Bell Foundry 2017
Woolwich Experience, Arsenal, Rotunda, RA Barracks, RA Academy 1999

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