It is situated between the villages of Puriton and Woolavington in the Sedgemoor district of Somerset, UK; but was always known as ROF Bridgwater, after the nearest town. It is located slightly above sea level, all of it lying between the 5 and 10 metre contour lines on Ordnance Survey maps. BAE Systems will close the facility when decommissioning is completed in July 2008.
It was also known as "ROF 37", a name that was reflected in its sports and social association, known as the "37 Club", located in a building just outside the perimeter fence.
Both of the waterways are now an integral part of the drainage system of the Somerset Levels.
The ROF was essentially self-supporting other than for the supply of raw materials. It generated high-pressure steam for heating and production processes using its own coal-fired power station; it could also produce electricity using a steam turbine. During World War II before the National Grid was fully developed, it was connected to two independent public electricity generation stations: Portishead power station (now demolished) and Shepton Mallet power station.
Housing for workers was built, between 1940 and 1941, as "pre-fabs" in the adjacent village of Woolavington. Hostels for single workers were also built at nearby Dunball, by the King's Sedgemoor Drain.
The site was guarded until shortly after privatisation by the MoD Police. The MoD Police had their own barracks and canteen located opposite the main factory gates. These have long since been demolished. However three brick-built MoD Police houses are still in use on the Woolavington Road, but they are no longer occupied by the police.
ROF Bridgwater was connected to the Great Western Railway (GWR) by a private branch line and sidings, complete with its own dedicated locomotive. This was used both for intake of supplies, such as acid in tanker wagons from ICI and coal for the power station, and for distribution of the finished product.
A new bridge was built in the early 1970s to carry this line over the M5 motorway, just north of junction 23, when the M5 was extended southwards from its terminal junction with the M50 motorway. The railway branch became disused after the privatisation of the ROFs and the rail tracks have been lifted. The British Rail sidings were known as Huntspill (Puriton).
Like all ROFs at the time, ROF Bridgwater operated as a production factory. Formulation of explosives, propellants and munitions was carried out at separate government-owned research and development establishments such as the Research Department, which was initially based at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich and then Fort Halstead; and at PERME Waltham Abbey, which later transferred to RARDE Fort Halstead. After privatisation Royal Ordnance PLC took over some of the UK government-owned research and development capability, other parts were closed or became part of QinetiQ.