Badgells Wood was once part of a World War II Pre-Officer Training Camp that stretched through much of Whitehorse Wood and was used mainly for motor vehicle courses. Towards end of WWII, nearly every officer in the British Army passed through here as part of his training. The remains of concrete tracks and hut bases can be glimpsed between the trees, giving a taste of what was here before.
There is also 1km of trench which the archaeologists are debating was either a WWI stop-line or possibly for the WWII training. Either way, its great fun to explore now..!
There have been a number of airplanes downed in the woods over the years. In 1940 Flight Lieutenant Bills Rolls claimed his first victory over a German Me110 which crash landed in the woods here – one crew member was killed and the other taken prisoner. Unfortunately there was also a Spitfire down, and the cross of remembrance remains quietly amongst the poppies at the base of the chalk grassland.
Recent surveys have also picked up much earlier evidence of archaeology including earth banks and other woodland features that stretch back to pre-medieval times – you can also spot the boundary to the Tudor Deer Park.
There is a file at reception that covers the WWII history in more detail if you are interested. Ask Karina if you can take a look.