DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

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4 February 2014

Wigpool FC/GWT Reserve

Grid Ref SO653193

 

The aim on this day was to carry on with removal of successional trees, stumps treated and brash dragged and burnt. There was an anazing rainbow in between the odd shower.

This site was used by the Americans during WW2 and some of their comments can be seen below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the view across the heathland to the lake.

Wigpool Lake is one of the few natural lakes in the Forest of Dean as most of the lakes are man-made.

 

 

 

 

The old map on the left indicates where the army cinema was sited during WW2.

It also shows the conifer plantation which covered the site in the years after the war but has now been cleared to return Wigpool to natural heathland. Here are some comments made about the wartime site.

"The Americans were on the common along with hundreds of other servicemen here in preparation for the D Day landings 6th June 1944. During their time here members of the 144th Field Artillery Group 3rd Army would convert the scowle hole know locally as 'Christ a Weeping' into a cinema. A large white sheet was hung up at the face and wooden seats were put in on the rear slope. These seats were said to be made out of the wooden vehicle crates which were present in their hundreds on the common. A local told me that the cinema was used several times a week both by locals and by the US servicemen stationed there. Sadly just before the U.S. army left the common the seats were removed and burnt on the common. It wasn't all bad, a lot of surplus food was buried and markers were left so the locals could dig the supplies back up after the troops had gone"

"Amongst the trees is an old iron ore mine scowle hole that was extended and fitted out as a cinema for use by the American Soldiers camped all over the Wigpool Common area during the Second World War. It is reputed that when the soldiers evacuated the camp after the war much material such as ammunition and general supplies for the camp were deposited into one of the these huge caverns and then sealed in with explosives.Many have attempted to locate these often talked of 'dumps' since the war and rumours persist to this day of what is waiting to be found by someone that may one day happen to look in the right place."

 

 

The site is shown leading up the hill and the team are preparing to light a fire.