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The Old Three Pigeons Inn, Nesscliffe - - 648304.jpg
The Old Three Pigeons Inn, Nesscliffe
Grid reference: SJ385195
Location: 52°46’10"N, 2°54’47"W
Postcode: SY4
Local Government
Council: Shropshire

Nesscliffe is a tiny village in Shropshire, north of the River Severn and nested under the cliff from which it takes its name, up which and above which is the Nesscliffe Hill Country Park. The village is within the Great Ness parish.

The A5 road, which previously ran through the village, now runs around the village on a new dual-carriageway by-pass.[1]

The village

The village has a primary school (St Peter's C of E) and post office. There is one working pub, The Old Three Pigeons; a former pub, the Nesscliffe Hotel, is now a Chinese restaurant/takeaway called China Rose.

The Nesscliffe Village Hall is used by the whole community for clubs, groups, meetings and events. There is a strong and dedicated committee who ensure that the hall is well maintained, and who organise events throughout the year. Events and news are published on the community website and Facebook page.

Local landmarks

The site of a cave used by the highwayman, Humphrey Kynaston now forms part of the Nesscliffe Hill Country Park. One mile south-west are the earthwork remains of Wilcott Castle, a small motte castle.

The independent girls' boarding school Adcote is in the parish, in the nearby village of Little Ness.

The Great Ness parish First World War war memorial, in form of a red sandstone cross, is located in Nesscliffe at the old A5 roadside.[2] It lists nine men who died and 57 who served in that war.

Nesscliffe Hill Country Park

Nesscliffe Hill Country Park lies just off the A5 between Oswestry and Shrewsbury. The Old Three Pigeons Inn, dated back to the 1400s, is located south of the entrance to the Park and was said to be the watering hole of Humphrey Kynaston. Inside, the seat from Kynaston's cave is now part of the Inn's fireplace. The park itself is divided into three areas, from south to north: Nesscliffe Hill, Hopton Hill and The Cliffe (latter also accessible by footpath from Ruyton-XI-Towns). Shruggs Common, believed to be the smallest common in Shropshire of approximately 1/4 acre, is found on Nesscliffe Hill.[3]

Nesscliffe Rock Cave

The Nesscliffe Rock Cave is part of the Nesscliffe Country Park. It is a small sandstone cave and is better known as Kynaston's Cave as it is the place he and his steed Beelzebub sought refuge. The entrance to the cave is six metres high and stairs were cut into the soft rock, however over time the stairs have eroded.[4] Inside the cave can be seen two chambers approximately four square metres big and the date 1564 carved in to one of the walls, followed by the initials of H.K., reputedly of Humphrey Kynaston.[5] A wooden staircase once existed to give access to the cave but was not extant as of 2015; today the steps have been fenced off and the mouth and window of the cave shut off by grids.[6]

CAD Nesscliffe

During the 1930s, there was a recognition of a need to provide secure storage for munitions within the United Kingdom. The proposal was to create three Central Ammunition Depots (CAD) in easily hewn and relatively horizontal rocks: one in the south (Monkton Farleigh); one in the north of England (Longtown, Cumberland); and one in the Midlands (Nesscliffe).

While Monkton Farleigh came into operations in 1939, CAD Nesscliffe was developed by the War Office/Ministry of Defence after the start of Second World War.[7] In order to service the extensive property, the MoD took over the virtually defunct Shropshire and Montgomeryshire Railway from 1941,[8] and built extensive additional service tracks along the 8.8 miles (14.1 km) of railway line from Maesbrook to the former Ford and Crossgate railway station, south of the River Severn.[9]

Like a typical ammunition depot, the site was laid out over an extensive area to avoid total destruction should an accidental explosion occur, or the site be attacked by enemy. The site was made up of four sub-sites: Kinnerley, Pentre, Ford, and Argoed. The four sites were capable of storing around 50,000 tons of shells.[9]

There was also a sub-site at Loton Park, under the Alberbury mediæval deer park, used for storage of both incendiary ammunition and chemical weapons shells from 1943. This was one of two CW depots operated in co-operation with and guarded by the United States Army Air Forces, the second being in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.[10][11]

Locomotives and train drivers were provided by the Royal Engineers, who also maintained the extensive network. Their main servicing depot for rolling stock was on the stub-junction of the former branchline to Criggion.[9] Ammunition storage officially stopped in 1959 on site, and the ammunition depot closed in 1961, when the railway tracks were removed. Operational locomotives were moved to the Longmoor Military Railway, while the non-operational were sold-off commercially.

Since 1961 the site has been part of the Nesscliffe Training Area.[7]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Nesscliffe)


  1. New bypass opens 21 March 2003
  2. Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3. 
  3. "Nesscliffe Country park" Virtual Shropshire. Retrieved 20 April 2012
  4. "Humphrey Kynaston's Cave"Showcaves. Retrieved 1 May 2012
  5. Information on Nesscliffe  from GENUKI
  6. As discovered by user on 1 January 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Nescliffe Training Area". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  8. Johnson, Peter (2008). The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway. Hersham: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-86093-619-0. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Central Ammunition Depot Nesscliffe". Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  10. Brooks E. Kleber & Dale Birdsell. "The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat". Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  11. Brooks E. Kleber & Dale Birdsell (4 April 2003). The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat. University Press of the Pacific. ISBN 1-4102-0485-5. 
  • Johnson, Peter (2008). The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway. Hersham: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-86093-619-0. 
  • Brooks E. Kleber & Dale Birdsell (4 April 2003). The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat. University Press of the Pacific. ISBN 1-4102-0485-5.