top of page

Stp Arnika

Large command bunkers in historic nature site

Stp Arnika site overview

What to see

The soldiers based at Stp Arnika on the north east outskirts of the village of Ghyvelde near to France’s border with Belgium were probably unaware of the significance of the site as a remarkable piece of natural history.
The ‘Dune fossile de Ghyvelde’ on which Stp Arnika butts up to is an area of an ancient, 5,000 year old shoreline and is the only example of Holocene dune system in the whole of France. It supports several threatened species of plant and animal, including Northern Crested Newts and narrow mouthed whorl snails within the 196-acre site.
Inside the dense woodland which stands to the west of the dunes are the remains of Stp Arnika where you can find two large command bunkers of R118c and R117a type along with the remains of more than a dozen other concrete structures.
The R118C is an 18-room building which acted as a ‘dressing station’ or hospital bunker and featured two wards for patients, and operating theatre, plus rooms for doctors and medical officers, heating equipment and fuel stores, plus a close combat embrasure covering the three entrances. This building has now been sealed and is a refuse for bats.
Stp Arnika’s R117a is a 14 room building constructed as a battalion and regimental headquarters and included a large commander’s room, officers’ quarters, crew rooms, a telephone exchange, radio room, and a close combat embrasure for defence.
While most of the bunker site is now overgrown you can also see the remains of a handful of the smaller shelters, a garage, and also an anti-aircraft gun post at the eastern side of the site near the dune reserve area.
The entrance to the nature reserve is along a path next to the football ground and visitors are discouraged from entering the woods for their own safety.


Directions to bunker sites in this area...

bottom of page