Spirit of Wartime Sherwood

Join our people-powered heritage project

Get hands-on with the WW2 History of Sherwood Forest

A Worker in the Women’s Timber Corps

Eighty one years ago, Britain entered a conflict that was to claim the lives of some 75 million people worldwide, and change every aspect of British daily life.

From Mansfield to Newark, from Bestwood to Worksop, the area that was once Royal Sherwood Forest played a special part in the war effort.

Its extensive tracts of woodland provided an ideal hiding place for shells, explosives and other ordnance – the tree canopy shielding it from view by enemy aircraft.

While the Women’s Timber Corps and Land Army stepped in to keep vital timber and food production going, at Dukes Wood near Eakring, a secret team of Texan oilmen laboured to create a new source of oil to replace supplies blockaded by enemy ships. Sherwood’s ancient heath land – once part of a medieval Royal hunting forest – resounded to the rumble of tanks and military training exercises.

Grand country houses of the Nottinghamshire Dukeries such as Rufford Abbey became billets for army officers. At what is today peaceful Bestwood Country Park, soldiers regrouped after evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk. Prisoner of War camps at Edwinstowe and elsewhere changed to Displaced Persons’ camps as the war in Eastern Europe left millions stateless, bereft of possessions or money, unable to return to their homes.

Thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund the Sherwood Forest Trust is launching a new ‘people powered project’ to uncover the wartime secrets of Sherwood Forest and North Nottinghamshire.

Sign up to become an oral history recorder – we’ll train volunteers on how to help capture wartime facts and reminiscences before they are lost.

Volunteer to help trained archaeologists map and record WW2 camps and installations hidden within Sherwood Forest and North Nottinghamshire, before remains are lost.

Help us write a Tourist Trail linking together sites that tell the wartime story – from Newark Air Museum to the National Holocaust Museum at Laxton.

Help us stage fun community activities from have a go WW2 dance lessons to compiling a ‘Dig for Victory’ recipe book.

Help us research the wartime history of our Jewish and Polish communities locally, and find out about the prisoners of war, refugees and displaced persons who came to Nottinghamshire during WW2 and settled here.

Share your WW2 family stories and photos with our Project Officer. What did YOUR Nottinghamshire grandparents or great grandparents do in the War?

Coming Soon

We’ll soon appoint a new Project Officer to lead this exciting project, so watch this space for news. In the meanwhile, email us if you’re interested in volunteering, helping out or simply sharing some information or photos with us info@sherwoodforest.org.uk

The Spirit of Wartime Sherwood. A people-powered heritage project

A monthly donation supports our work to protect rare habitats and work with communities in ancient Sherwood Forest.

Help us help others.