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Recording Savernake’s Second World War Heritage Project Design Table of Contents TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u 1Summary PAGEREF _Toc380014014 \h 12Historical Background PAGEREF _Toc380014015 \h 13Location PAGEREF _Toc380014016 \h 14Archaeological Investigations in Savernake PAGEREF _Toc380014017 \h 15Historical Research undertaken on Second World War Savernake PAGEREF _Toc380014018 \h 16Research Aims and Objectives PAGEREF _Toc380014019 \h 17Methods Statement PAGEREF _Toc380014020 \h 18Business Case PAGEREF _Toc380014021 \h 19Project Scope PAGEREF _Toc380014022 \h 110Communications PAGEREF _Toc380014023 \h 111Health and Safety PAGEREF _Toc380014024 \h 112Project Team Biographies PAGEREF _Toc380014025 \h 113Stages PAGEREF _Toc380014026 \h 114Archiving and Dissemination PAGEREF _Toc380014027 \h 115Risk Log PAGEREF _Toc380014028 \h 116Budget PAGEREF _Toc380014029 \h 1Recording Savernake’s Second World War HeritageSummaryThis project aims to identify and record the extant remains dating to the Second World War in Savernake Forest. The Second World War had a significant impact on the forest as it became the site of one of the largest ammunition depots in the country. This left extensive remains within the forest area, the significance of which was first recorded by a National Mapping Programme (NMP) project undertaken by English Heritage in 2007-8. This project added 324 new sites to the national record, including a significant number of sites associated with the Second World War ammunition store, extending over a large area of the forest. This project highlighted the potential for surviving extant remains, however a systematic ground survey of the forest was not undertaken. Such a project would extend the understanding of these Second World War remains, especially when undertaken in association with the analysis of the results from the NMP project and a historical investigation. The potential outcomes of this multi disciplinary approach are extensive, and include better heritage protection outcomes for the remains, and the potential for public dissemination and interpretation.Historical BackgroundBordering the south eastern fringe of the Wiltshire market town of Marlborough is Savernake Forest, a remnant of the ancient woodland that once cloaked much of Britain. It covers an area of over 4,500 acres, is owned by the Ailesbury Estate and in 1939 was leased to the Forestry Commission for a period of 999 years.Before the outbreak of World War Two, Britain’s stockpiles of explosives were stored in three Central Ammunition Depots (CAD), but as the War intensified output from the ammunition factories increased massively and the CADs quickly reached saturation point. As a direct result temporary outdoor sites were hurriedly established and in July 1940 Savernake Forest was taken over by the War Department as an ammunition store. The forest’s mature, predominately broad-leaved woodland provided excellent natural concealment from aerial observation and the trees had the potential to absorb the effects of explosions – accidental or otherwise.The depot was conveniently located in central southern England about 70 miles west of London and a similar distance north of the Channel port of Southampton. The now disused Midland and South Western Junction Railway, one of Britain’s few north - south rail routes, passed along the western edge of the forest and the west of England mainline, linking London with the west-country, passed within a mile of the forest’s southern boundary.Although the site was temporary in nature a number of semi-permanent camps, stores and other facilities were constructed and much of this work took place during the first year or so of the depot’s existence. Five camps, used to accommodate personnel, were established at Tottenham House, Warren Farm, Cadley Vicarage, Postern Hill and Iron Gates and a number of Nissen type ammunition shelters were built at intervals along almost the entire length of the Grand Avenue. To open up the forest for storage, and to accept the weight of heavily laden army lorries, many of its woodland rides were strengthened and new tracks constructed.Towards the end of 1942 the Depot was gradually passed from British to American control and over the course of the next 18 months or so stocks of ammunition increased in anticipation of operation ‘Overlord’, the Allied invasion of Europe. The increase in stocks was so great during this period that ammunition had to be stored in adjacent fields and woodland, as well as alongside public roads. After the War the depot was used to store redundant ammunition brought back from Europe and continued in use until 1949.LocationThe north western edge of Savernake Forest is 1 mile to the south-south-east of Marlborough.Map 1 – Location of Savernake Forest, Marlborough, WiltshireArchaeological Investigations in SavernakeOnly limited archaeological investigations have been undertaken in Savernake Forest, with no specific field work undertaken on the Second World War remains. The most significant investigation undertaken in the forest was on the Savernake Roman pottery kilns. These were found in the late 19th century and excavated in 1957-1961 and 2005.In 2007-8, English Heritage undertook a multi disciplinary project using aerial photographic and LiDAR analysis with some limited field survey work (Crutchely, S., Small, F. and Bowden, M., 2009). The aim of this project was to survey an area of, until then, relatively low density of sites in a rich archaeological landscape and to analyse the benefits of using aerial photography and LiDAR in a forestry landscape. The project added 324 new sites to the national record, which date from the Neolithic to the Second World War. It mapped an extensive Second World War landscape that included domestic camp sites and large numbers of different ammunition stores.Various historic environment events undertaken in Savernake are recorded on the Wiltshire HER. Though none are significant (apart from the above), they are attached to this Project Design as an appendix.Historical Research undertaken on Second World War SavernakeThere has been one definitive historical study of the Second World War ammunition depot in Savernake Forest. Undertaken by the local military historian, Roger Day, this resulted in the publication “Savernake at War” (2007). This book provides a comprehensive overview of the ammunition depot, covering its historical setting within the framework of the Second World War, as well as a detailed record of the different units, functions and uses of the depot. The detailed plans and illustrations also provide valuable insights into the depot’s infrastructure, organisation and material culture. The author, Roger Day, is a member of the project team.Research Aims and ObjectivesOn a regional level, this project addresses Research Aim 64: Improve our understanding of the less-researched areas of Post-Medieval to Modern defence and warfare, in particular:b. There is massive scope in the later period, one in which the ratio of civilian and support activity to the front-line has developed to meet rapid technological change and “total” war in the later twentieth century. Particular areas in urgent need of study are logistics (depots, dumps, repair and transport facilities), command and control resources, personnel services (training, medical care, recreation, security for service people) and “civilian” aspects, such as railways in war, temporary housing and fire/rescue services.Savernake forest comes under logistics - depots, dumps, repair and transport facilities.Specific Project Aims:Identify and record the extant Second World War remains in the forest.Survey a number of type sitesResearch these remains providing a historical context to them.Provide a detailed record of sites for inclusion in the Wiltshire HER and Forestry Commission sites register to protect them within the planning system and as part of forestry management.Trial the use of mobile devices to plot the locations of the sites in the forestLook at the potential for their interpretation and the creation of heritage walks.Methods StatementThe project will include the following:Documentary and aerial photographic analysisUndertake a literature review of research undertaken on the Second World War occupation of Savernake Forest and re-examine the aerial photography and LiDAR reports. This will provide target areas to be surveyed – in particular the domestic camp areas.Recording of Second World War site locationsIdentify and plot the extant remains in the different areas of the forest – putting the individual remains into context with the wider Second World War landscape. Various sites include, for example:The different ammunition dump areasThe five domestic camps, including Iron Gates (SU 21111 68223) and Postern Hill Camp (SU 19776 68033)Associated infrastructure/facilities – eg water and electrical supplies, drainage, repair areas, rubbish dumps etcA spreadsheet/database of sites will be produced which will comply with national historic environment data standards and make use of English Heritage/FISH Monument type thesauri.Surveying – structural and earthwork survey and photographic recording of extant remainsThis will be undertaken on various sites identified above. For repeated type sites, a representative sample will be surveyed. Identification and interpretation of the remainsIdentification of the various areas of the camp and ammunition depot, including whenever possible individual buildings/elements. Recording of Second World War arborglyphs (tree carvings) Arborglyphs dated from 1940 – 49 will be recorded as part of the project. They represent ephemeral evidence of Second World War occupation of Savernake Forest. Images of the arborglyphs will be disseminated on the Recording Wiltshire’s Arborglyph project website: CaseThe Second World War Central Ammunition Depot in Savernake Forest is well known locally, though is still relatively unknown regionally or nationally. There is therefore a need to highlight this aspect of the forest’s heritage in terms of public understanding and heritage protection. Although a number of the remains of the camps and ammunition depots in the forest area have been located through the English Heritage National Mapping Programme and LiDAR project, very little work has been undertaken on the ground. This project will aim to provide a “ground truthing” of these sites identified, to map the extant remains and survey specific elements of them. The main outcome of this project will be to produce an accurate register of extant Second World War remains for the Wiltshire HER and the Forestry Commission, who manage Savernake Forest. This will enhance the heritage protection of the site within the planning system. The project could also lead to the interpretation of the remains, and the potential for creating interpreted walks around some of the most significant sites.9Project ScopeThe project will be undertaken within the boundaries of Savernake Forest and restricted to Second World War heritage. Any other remains are out of the scope of the project, though any significant finds will be reported to the County Archaeologist and the Forestry Commission archaeologist.10CommunicationsUpdates of the project progress will go to the Wiltshire County Archaeologist and the Forestry Commission archaeologist. The Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group website and Facebook page will be used to disseminate publically the project.11Health and SafetyThe Archaeology Field Group is covered under its own Third Party Liability insurance. A Risk log will be prepared which will reflect any specific issues associated with the nature of the Second World War site. The standard Field Group Health and Safety procedures will be adhered to. 12Project Team BiographiesRoger Day was born in Marlborough and has been interested in the area’s recent military history for most of his life. He is a military historian and the author of five books on the subject - one of which is ‘Savernake at War’, a comprehensive history of the WW2 ammunition depot that was established in Savernake Forest in 1940. He is a member of the Hungerford Historical Association and runs his own website, , dedicated to 20th century military heritage in north-east Wiltshire and west Berkshire.Iain Fry grew up in Wiltshire and has an active interest in the history and legacy of the First and Second World Wars, in the UK and mainland Europe. He has been a member of various groups associated with historical remembrance and conservation for over 15 years, including the Western Front Association, Battlefields Trust and Friends of Lochnagar crater.Dan Miles works in the Heritage Protection Department of English Heritage. He is an active member of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group Steering Committee and has a particular interest in military and conflict archaeology. He has undertaken various field investigations and building recording projects on 20th century military sites in the county.13Stages The project is split into various stages:Stage 1Documentary and aerial photographic analysisStage 2Recording of Second World War site locationsStage 3Surveying – structural and earthwork survey and photographic recording of extant remainsStage 4Identification and interpretation of the remainsThe stages are sequential, though some surveying of known sites may take place at the same time as the general recording of site locations. The main time period of the field work will be December – May, due to vegetation growth, and the project is estimated to last at least 2 years. This is, to some extent, dependant on the number of volunteers who participate in the project. 14Archiving and DisseminationThe project archive will be deposited with the Wiltshire Museum. A report will be made available to the Wiltshire HER and the Forestry Commission and uploaded through OASIS to the Grey Literature Library of the Archaeology Data Service. It is not envisaged that any material cultural remains will be collected – as this is not the primary objective of the project. However, if during the survey, relevant material is found then discussions will be held between the Wiltshire Museum and the Merchants House relating to their acquisition.15Risk LogTo be attached.16BudgetThere is the possibility of applying for some funding, for example HLF funding. This will be discussed by the various participants at the beginning of the project’s implementation.

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