USAF Croughton, late 1980s/early 1990s
‘CroughtonWatch’ is a monitoring campaign devoted to USAF Croughton (and its outstation, Barford St. John) on the border of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. USAF Croughton part of a global electronic communications, control and surveillance network that projects American military power across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East – a role that is about to expand with the arrival of the JIAC.
The USAF Croughton Site
The USAF Croughton site sits between the busy A43 trunk road and the quiet village of Croughton. This page gives information about where the site is, and the military byelaws that have been enacted to control access to the site.
RAF Croughton was built in 1938. Originally known as Brackley Landing Ground, and then RAF Brackley, in July 1941 it became RAF Station Croughton.
The station became a satellite for RAF Upper Heyford to provide the unit with extra airfield space for night-flying training for Commonwealth pilots. From 1947 to 1950 the site was largely redundant.
At the end of 1950 the USAF took over the station – and this began RAF Croughton’s new communications mission until the present day.
The original use as a Second World War airfield is almost visible today – as shown in the Google Maps satellite image on the right. Much of the concrete runway/taxiway of the former airfield has been removed in recent years and grassed over.
You can view the site on the Ordnance Survey map via the Streetmap site at –
- 1:25,000 scale (orange 'explorer' map scale);
- 1:50,000 scale (pink 'landranger' map scale); and
- 1:200,000 scale (green 'road' map scale).
Note, the arrows in all the above maps points to the location of main gate for the site, where local peace rallys/Quaker meetings for worship are held.
In 2012 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) launched a public consultation on the creating of new military byelaws for the site. Military byelaws – as with other types local byelaws – create criminal offences in relation to land controlled by the MoD.
Click here to view/download a PDF copy of the 2014 military byelaws.
The new byelaws define two areas (click the map to view/download a higher-resolution version) –
- The pink area is the area of the site within the main security perimeter – known as the "protected area". Within this area no person can:
- enter or leave the Protected Area except by way of an official entrance or exit;
- remain in the Protected Area after having been directed to leave by a constable or person described in (the) byelaws;
- obstruct a lawful user acting in the proper exercise of their duty within the Protected Area;
- cause or permit any vehicle, animal or thing to enter the Protected Area;
- take any visual image of any person or thing within the Protected Area;
- gain entry to the Protected Area as a result of making any false statement, either orally or
- in writing, or by employing any other form of misrepresentation;
- board, or interfere with the movement of any vehicle or aircraft within the Protected Area;
- remove, interfere with, or obstruct the use of, any property within the Protected Area which is under the control of the Crown or the service authorities of either a visiting force or a headquarters, or the agents or contractors of the Crown or such service authorities;
- deface any sign, wall, fence, structure or other surface within the Protected Area; or
- fail to comply with any signs displayed within the Protected Area.
- The blue area is the area of the site between the outer boundary and the main security perimeter – known as the "controlled area". Within this area no person can:
- obstruct a lawful user or any other person acting in the proper exercise of his duty;
- enter any part which is enclosed or entry to which is shown by a sign as being prohibited or restricted;
- carry any offensive weapon;
- remove, interfere with, or obstruct the use of, any property which is under the control of the Crown or the service authorities of either a visiting force or a headquarters, or the agents or contractors of the Crown or such service authorities;
- camp in tents, caravans, trees or otherwise;
- cause any nuisance, or behave in an indecent or obscene manner;
- deposit any industrial refuse, rubble, waste or litter or abandon any vehicle or vehicle part or any other article;
- act in any way likely to cause annoyance, nuisance or injury to other person;
- light fires or do anything likely to cause an outbreak of fire;
- fail to keep under control any dog or other animal;
- fail to keep any dog on a short lead during the period beginning with 1st March and ending with 31st July in each year;
- fail to remove all waste created by any dog or other animal under their control;
- deface any sign, wall, fence, structure or other surface;
- engage in any trade or business of any description;
- ride, drive, conduct or cause to be ridden, driven or conducted, use or employ any animal or vehicle of any kind or use any audible means either wholly or mainly for the purpose of trade or advertisement;
- damage, cut or remove any crops, turfs, plants, roots or trees;
- graze any animal;
- kill or trap any birds or animals, or take or destroy their eggs;
- dig or search for any item or interfere with or take any item found; or
- fail to comply with any signs displayed within a Controlled Area.
Note that the new military byelaws operate outside of other civil and criminal public order/trespass laws, and in many ways are designed to facilitate the control/curtailment of any process within or on the perimeter of the site – and can be enforced by "appointed" uniformed staff, not just by the civil police.