An abandoned bunker that once warned of Hitler’s bombers in World War II has been transformed into a quirky holiday home.
The windowless concrete structure was built into the hillside at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, in 1941 and served as an RAF radar base.
It was part of Winston Churchill’s ‘Chain Home’ system for early warning of bunkers scattered around the south coast used to track the German Luftwaffe.
The fort was later renovated and used as a rotor station to look out for Soviet bombers during the Cold War before being dismantled in 1956.
Now the old bunker has been given a second lease of life as a holiday home, complete with a kitchen, two bedrooms and stunning views over Dorset’s Jurassic Coast – and has proved a hit with holidaymakers, booking it up for the summer.
The former World War II bunker used to be a radar headquarters, but has now been converted into a holiday home
New ‘explosion holes’ have been created to give the former military fort stunning views over Dorset’s Jurassic Coast
And inside it is fully equipped, including a modern kitchen, underfloor heating and wifi
Camouflaged into the hillside, it stands on land owned by dairy farmer Johnnie Russel, whose family has owned the lot for over 400 years.
The Grade II listed fortress was almost completely hidden from view and from the outside looked like a grassy knoll.
Mr Russell obtained planning permission last year to convert it into a new holiday residence, which now features bi-folding patio doors that flood the once damp and dark space with light.
Known as the ‘Transmitter Bunker’, the unique holiday rental sleeps up to four people in two bedrooms and prices start from £702 for two nights.
It opened to holidaymakers through Sykes Cottages in April and is already fully booked for July, August and September, with only a handful of nights left in June.
The bunker has an open plan living and dining area, kitchen, a twin bedroom, a bunk bedroom and a shower room.
Unlike the once spartan wartime facilities, the bunker now has underfloor heating, a smart TV, wifi and modern kitchen appliances including a dishwasher.
But as it’s been transformed, there are nods to its past life, with the concrete walls kept bare throughout and exposed plumbing and lighting.
The new summer house has proved a great success with holidaymakers, who have booked it for the whole of July, August and September
Inside, the bunker has two bedrooms, one with two single beds and one with a bunk bed
The bunker was once tucked away and overgrown. Now it has been overhauled and transformed into a new summer house
Architect Jonathan Plant said they were trying to celebrate the historical significance of the structure.
He said: “It is essential for us to ensure that everyone staying in the bunker can understand the history and original purpose of the building.”
The bunker was part of the ‘Chain Home’ ring, the world’s first warning radar network and the first military radar system to reach operational status.
The pioneering technology proved crucial during the opening salvos of the war and provided a lifeline during the Battle of Britain, helping to track down enemy bombers.
The towering metal structures and their bunkers were used to determine the direction of Nazi fighter jets, allowing RAF fighters to intercept them.
Work has already begun on a second bunker on Mr Russell’s land, which is much larger but will have a similar look and feel.
A spokesperson for Sykes Cottage said: ‘Discover this lovingly restored, unique former bunker, tucked away in the rural setting of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Ringstead Bay near Preston, Dorset.
Abandoned for many years, the station was once part of the Chain Home network of early-warning radar centers in World War II and later, in the 1950s, an early-Cold War alert station. The bunker is pictured before it was refurbished
‘You can practically feel the history emanating from every part of the property with original features throughout.
‘The renovation took into account the fact that the bunker is listed as a monument, while retaining the original concrete walls and other features.
‘The transmitter bunker is in the middle of the owner’s dairy farm, two fields away from the sea.
‘With all ground floor accommodation, stunning sea views and an abundance of character, The Transmitter Bunker welcomes four guests to experience the ultimate quirky Dorset retreat.’