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Second World War, New Forest airfields
Beaulieu, Holmsley South and Stoney Cross - an introduction

Part of the old service road near the site of Beaulieu Airfield's 'B Flight' hangar
Part of the old service road near the
site of Beaulieu Airfield's 'B flight' hangar

The New Forest made a major contribution to the Second World War effort and was home to a number of substantial airfields including Beaulieu (World War Two) Airfield (A), Holmsley South (B) and Stoney Cross (C).

Other smaller, but none-the-less important, airfields were located in and around the edge of the area.

Now, more than 60 years after the end of hostilities, airfield evidence can still be seen.

For example, at Beaulieu Heath, still very visible on the ground and clearly shown on the Ordnance Survey map, is the 5-sided outline of the main taxi-track which once had contained within, three runways laid out in the shape of the letter 'A'.

Now, even though most of the concrete has been removed, the location of the runways is still evident on the ground, betrayed by relatively short vegetation that contrasts markedly with the gorse and heather on either side. Fittingly, one length of runway, together with an adjacent area of concrete set down in the early 1950s, is used as a model aircraft flying area, whilst a portion of the main taxi-track forms part of a cycle-way.

A number of buildings associated with Beaulieu Airfield can be seen around nearby Dilton, including on the edge of a field adjacent to the open Forest, two old air raid shelters located close to the remains of accommodation blocks used by members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

Then not far away, close to a public footpath amongst trees on private land south-east of Furze Hill, are four ivy-clad, moss-encrusted, dilapidated, 7-sided, probably asbestos, buildings known as Handcraft Type Huts, the name deriving from the Handcraft Works in Watford, home of manufacturers Universal Asbestos Company Limited.

And finally, close to Roundhill campsite is an old water tower, a further reminder of the importance of Beaulieu Airfield.

At Stoney Cross, part of the old runways and taxi-ways are now used as public roads, whilst some of the narrow concrete roads within the nearby Longbeech Campsite were once used by aircraft moving to still visible dispersal pans, places around the perimeter of the airfield set aside for standing aircraft. Dispersal pans are still prominently visible in Ocknell Campsite, too, and also near Ocknell Pond.

Lots more information about Stoney Cross is available here - Stoney Cross Airfield - including satellite images, detailed plans of the airfield and contemporary photographs.

At Holmsley, two small buildings of World War Two vintage remain on private land adjacent to the open Forest, whilst Holmsley South airfield taxi-ways and dispersal pans continue to be used as roads and parking places within Holmsley campsite. Runways, too, can be traced here, even though, as elsewhere, most of the concrete was removed many years ago.

References:
The New Forest at War: John Leete
Twelve Airfields: Alan Brown
New Forest Airfields: Ken Davies

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** New Forest ponies **
New Forest ponies in the road
Ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during the first six months of 2018, 36 animals were killed or injured on Forest roads, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017, a shocking rise of 38%. And in the full year, 63 animals were killed on the roads compared to 56 in 2017.
** Always take care when driving **
New Forest seasonal highlights
September
Dragonflies and damselflies remain on the wing and so do butterflies, but in ever decreasing numbers.
Hen harriers and other autumn and winter visiting birds begin to arrive in the Forest.
New Forest fungi - mushrooms and toadstools increasingly appear in the woods.
Red deer start to noisily rut as stags roar songs of love across favoured heaths.


October
Ancient, unenclosed woodlands and broad-leaved inclosures increasingly take on colourful autumnal hues.
Grey squirrels frantically seek out and store acorns for use during the cold days of winter.
Fallow deer boisterously rut for two or three weeks around the middle of the month before the bucks leave the does and eventually re-form their own male-only 'buck herds'.
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
September 2019
Up to Sunday 15th - Exbury Gardens, Look Twice Artists' Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.00pm.
Sunday, 8th - Lyndhurst Community Centre, Royal British Legion Band Concert, 3.00pm.
Friday, 13th - Verderers' Hall Open Day, Lyndhurst, 11.00am - 3.00pm.
Sunday, 29th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, The Rhythm Tea Dance, 2.00pm - 6.00pm.

October 2019
Throughout the month - St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington, Neo-Romantic Art: the McDowall Collection.
Saturday, 5th - New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst, Hedgerow Berries and Winter ills, 10.30am - 3.00pm. Advanced booking is essential.
Saturday 26th - Burley Village Hall, Craft Fayre, 10.30am - 5.00pm.

For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley