View Full Version : Hardwick Park

29-10-2008, 23:32
37 SLG Hardwick Park

Every so often, SWMBO says something like "It's a lovely day, lets go for a country walk!" Good idea Cherub! I reply, OS map at the ready, "But" (Jab of finger at this point) "I want no airfields, no mouldy concrete, no crashes, no bombs, no death, no destruction, no severed limbs and NO POISON GAS! GEDDIT?
If you get something similar, and can get to J29 of the M!, then this place might suit you both. A National Trust property that was a landing ground. You can pay just for a garden visit, rather than the dearer house tour if you wish. The runway was as per the line, trees at both ends and the "hourglass" were removed at the time. As far as I can ascertain, the only aircraft ever to use it were a pair of Defiants, one painted green/brown, the other black, and they were only there as a protection flight for what was a substantial parachute training camp on the hillside between the house and (now) the motorway. Other than once being shown a tie-down block stored in a barn, there is now no aeronautical evidence. She won't suspect a thing!
If you can't face the clotted cream etc then the background arrow points to the southern portal of Rowthorne railway tunnel, now back-filled, once a 27MU bomb store but abandoned before the wars end as impracticable and unneccesary underground. Easy car parking and free!

05-12-2009, 20:52
Is there a memorial plaque on the house, to the parachute camp, or did I dream that?


06-12-2009, 12:57
There is a memorial to the paratrooper camp, mounted on a wall at the edge of the visitors car park. I can't put my hand to an image quickly though, I last photographed it well before buying a digital camera and it's buried in the usual holidays/weddings/xmas stuff.
IIRC it's somewhere about SK46250 63790.

if I manage this link properly (wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm)

06-12-2009, 14:18
That link comes out at Compton Bassett Ossie.

06-12-2009, 17:27
Noel, Hardwick Park in centered on grid SK 460 640, immediately to the east of the M1 a couple of miles or so n/w of Mansfield.

Alternatively here (http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=53.168223&lon=-1.302494&z=14&r=359&src=msl). It's on the Debyshire/Nottinghamshire border, the house being in Derbys.


06-12-2009, 17:54
I did say "if"
Oh well. I almost got it right! Curiously, when I open up WTP, it brings up the last location I opened. In my case it was Hardwick (I have just checked, and it's still Hardwick) BUT, the previous time I used it it was to search the Compton Bassett area (PNKs ranges I think it was)
If you copy 'n' paste the OS ref above into WTP, it should bring you to where I mean.

06-12-2009, 18:22
If you copy 'n' paste the OS ref above into WTP, it should bring you to where I mean.
It certainly does. To get the link to a page you click on the top right icon in the aerial view. It's a globe with a chain link under it.


20-09-2012, 22:38
A browse on 28MU's activities (Harpur Hill) yesterday revealed that the personnel of the subsite at Rowthorne were probably based at Hardwick. It was referred to as RAF Hardwick (which could cause confusion with the USAAF base in Norfolk).

05-08-2015, 18:09

I am new to this forum. I was born and live not too close to Hardwick and it's only the last 8 months or so I've became interested in the camp and airfield. Knew about an army camp for years but didn't know it had anything to do with the Paras and knew nothing about an airfield. This obviously goes to show the National Trust's approach to Hardwick's involvement in WW2, basically bulldoze it from their history books. There is no mention of any on their website, in the hall itself though shown on a leaflet and one of the map boards as army camp. Camp was there from 1941 to 1959 according to books, used after 1946 by Pole and Hungarian refugees until everything was removed. I've read in a local book that locals wanted the church saving but no chance. There are signs though; red bricks, bits of concrete, parts of fencing, broken pottery and spent 303 shells of you know where to look. But as you drive up the winding road to the hall, thousands of visitors wouldn't have had a clue what was there.
The airfield Hardwick Park Grid Ref SK465645, also known as: No 37 SLG / RAF Hardwick Park had a grass runway of approx. 1,000 yards long running almost N/S, plus 16 acres of storage/parking, which was enough for 65 aircraft. It saw its first aircraft Boulton Paul Defiants arrive on 29 September 1941. Other types recorded as stored here include Miles M.14 Magister, De Havilland Dominie and Bristol Blenheim. However, the ground suffered from water-logging over the winter period and the approach was hazardous due to the large trees surrounding the runway so, with effect from 14 September 1943, the RAF gave the SLG up to the Airborne Forces.
As with the camp there is no sign of where it was as buildings have gone and trees removed from the 'wine glass' have grown back. But, if you know where to look things crop up.

This is from a book about Hardwick Hall (an official RAF photo it says). I've found nothing on the net until seeing this photo in a another thread and a better version.

This is from Britian from above website dated 1952. Shows clearly where the lime trees have been replanted around the 'wine glass'.

As mentioned previously this is the commemoration stone, a photo I took at the annual Parachute Regiment memorial day in May this year. It actually stands in the old orchard car park which is closed to the public but you can view it if you ask! Again, thousands of unbeknowing public don't know it's there. And the memorial day isn't on the website because it might attract terrorists I have been told!

Thing is I think the National Trust and Hardwick Hall should be ashamed of their treatment of 20,000 men who went through the selection process at the Airborne Forces Depot. To me it's a story that they have not wanted to tell as a permanent fixture. I have been told the new handbook will include more and there will be more physical recognition of where the camp was. Fifty years too late!

Hope this bit is useful and hoping to find out more. Any more info from people on here would be appreciated.


05-08-2015, 19:23
Yay! My (the vertical) photo has come back to haunt me.

06-08-2015, 21:26
Hi Ossington

The photo I got from the book hasn't got the balloon jump circle so I was chuffed to see it. I'd been told the balloon was set up near Blingsby Gate which is the main entrance at the top of the camp. The circle is next to Cross Wood which I've read in a local book had German dummies used for tactical training.
Can I ask where you got your photo from? It is more defined than mine. I've been using a photo from Google earth to match the trees as they weren't allowed to clear them when the camp was built.
I'd love to see pics of the camp and identify the buildings.