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World War One Heritage Walk

Start of walk at the station

The Heritage Walk entitled “Brockenhurst: A World War 1 Hospital Village” commemorates the presence of a military hospital and the villagers’ part in the War. It is in two parts.  

A walking guide leaflet can be obtained from Visitor Information Points in the railway station, village shops, some hotels, and campsites, the Parish Council Office or St Nicholas Church. It can also be downloaded here.

 

THE CHURCH LANE HERITAGE WALK starts at the railway station bridge and crosses the railway line to continue along a quiet country lane and past historic parkland. It passes through St Nicholas Churchyard where information boards introduce the story of Brockenhurst and the War. It then passes the 93 Commonwealth War Graves and Cenotaph before it proceeds to St Nicholas Church, reputedly the oldest in the New Forest, and mentioned in the Doomsday Book.  The church is open from 2pm - 5pm from Easter until the end of October. Inside an exhibition further details the story of the hospital and life in the village at the time. After leaving the church a short walk will take you to the former site of the field hospital. Regrettably there is no public access to the site but on the verge a small plaque illustrates how the site was set out.

 

The walk is approximately 1 mile (1.7km) long. In summer views along this walk can be both stunning and full of historical interest. A sample of the waymarks and the display boards appear in the pictures on this page. The terrain is variable including, footpaths, gravelled paths and country lanes. The paths in the churchyard can sometimes be a little muddy. 

 

On completing the walk you will have be treated to an insight into Brockenhurst both in the days of WW1 and how it appeared several hundred years ago.

 

THE VILLAGE HERITAGE WALK takes in the buildings and sites utilised as part of the hospital support operations. It is approximately 2.5 miles (4km) in length. Use the map to enjoy the walk in one piece or divide it into sections to suit your needs. Waymarker discs at the sites will refer you to explanatory text on the guide leaflet. Why not choose your route to enjoy beautiful the Forest Lawns immaculately manicured by the grazing of ponies and cattle, or see the picturesque water splash (ford) in the village centre where grazing stock still mingles freely with shoppers. The terrain is mostly flat including, footpaths, gravelled paths and county lanes road. The paths can sometimes be muddy.

 

The walk will have provided you an insight into the scale of the hospital in Brockenhurst and views over New Forest Lawns.

 

FEEDBACK AND KNOWLEDGE ENHANCEMENT.

We hope that having completed the walks you will have found it informative and interesting. Please let us have your feedback. If you or your family have connections with the hospital or village and can enhance our understanding please do contact us either by email at pc@brockpc.freeserve.co.uk ensuring the title line includes the words “Heritage Walk”, or by leaving your name with a guide at St Nicholas Church. Your information will be passed to local historians to enhance the records of the time. This information once processed will be added to this website.

 

UPDATES.

19th June 2015 Copies of the information boards erected inside the Church Exhibition have been added. Please also check back from time to time for more news of events and historical information as it is added.

If you wish to contact the Church they have their own website.



MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT (Opened April 2015)

 

Brockenhurst: A World War 1 Hospital Village part HLF Funded has focused on;

 

·         Reinforcing and the enhancing existing knowledge of the WWI military hospital in Brockenhurst

·         Remembrance of the 79 villagers who lost their lives in the war.

·         Providing greater visibility of WWI sites in Brockenhurst not previously formally recognised/signed by the erecting of plaques etc

·         Outreach to villagers, visitors and others to discover more of the events of the time.

·         Providing a better visitor experience for visitors and interested researchers.

·         Creating a dedicated Brockenhurst WW1 website as a historical record and encouraging its use as an on line depository of historical data and personal experiences.

·         Seeking to perpetuate interest in the heritage by educational projects for the local school and college such as population of the website, and researching the efforts and sacrifices of local families.

·         Strengthening the bonds between Brockenhurst and the Commonwealth nations whose soldiers were hospitalised in the village.

The central project partners were the Parish Council, the Anglican Church and the local branch of the Royal British Legion. The local Church provided new role of honour and interpretation boards in St Nicholas Church, the Royal British Legion and local historians have produced a small leaflet/booklet giving the history of events. These have been distributed through the existing volunteer guides who man the Church every afternoon from April to October. These volunteers continue to offer explanation and encourage visitors to record their knowledge of events.

Village historians check facts and have engaged with the local school and college to encourage research skills and enhance understanding. Project team members have given talks to the community at local village halls.They continue to monitor the impact of the walk and collect information.

The village's links to New Zealand continue to assist with organising visits from New Zealanders and working together to extend the knowledge.