Pupils ‘join up’ in commission bracken battle

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An army of youngsters have descended on the site of the former Clipstone Camp to help the Forestry Commission preserve the area’s First World War trenches.

Around 800 students from the Samworth Church Academy spent a day bashing bracken at the site, now part of Sherwood Pines.

The youngsters cleared Himalayan Balsam to preserve Forestry Commission land, and to clear the trenches - used to train British Tommies before heading to the front.

Student Darcey Gregory (13) said: ““We have been lucky enough to work on this site where we have been beating down the bracken and slowly revealing the First World War trenches.

“It also helps the trees they have planted to grow because they get more light and don’t have to compete for nutrients.”

Ranger Amy Chandler said the students made a big contribution to the commission’s ongoing battle with the bracken.

Sherwood Pines is still riddled with the remains of trenches and shooting ranges from its days as the former Clipstone Camp, where 30,000 men at a time where made ready for trench warfare in France and Belgium.

Construction on the camp started in 1914, soon after the outbreak of war, and it took its first cohort the following year.

A total of 29 graves at nearly St Alban’s Church, in Forest Town, are of those killed while stationed at Clipstone, including one woman who was training to be a nurse.

Samworth vice-principal Ian James added: “Our students have done some magnificent work and also learned a great deal about the historical trenches they have been helping to uncover.”

PICTURED: Youngsters from Samworth Church Academy helping Forestry Commission staff.