Savernake Forest - Thornhill Nurseries 1 of 3 Articles



In 1939 the Forestry Commission obtained a 999 year lease from the Savernake Estate to look after the sylviculture in Savernake Forest. John Wildash was the first Forestry Commission Officer to be in charge of the work in the Forest. John's subsequent career took him to many other forests in England but he kept in touch with the Blanchards who used to farm at Manor Farm Burbage. In 1992, Savernake Parish Councillor Diana Faux (nee Blanchard) invited John to talk at the Savernake Annual Parish meeting about his days in Savernake Forest. John gave a very entertaining talk about the Forest during and immediately after the Second World War. He said the Forest was a beautiful place with long drives of grass and large trees of oak, beech and chestnut. His main work was to grow and plant trees. A number of nurseries were set up in the Thornhill area on Great Lodge Drive. Soon after the start of the war, the men were called up and Land Army Girls were employed to sow the seeds in the nurseries and plant the young trees out in the Forest. The girls had to work hard, the hours were long and the usual means of getting to work was a bicycle.

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