Earlier in the month the Carbrooke History and Heritage Group where lucky to have one of the rare visits to the STANTA Army Training Area. The site is steeped in history and an unspoilt haven for wildlife.

In 1942  approximately 30,000 acres (120 km2) was cleared to make way for training area as part of the war effort against the Nazis.  The complete takeover involved the evacuation of the villages of Buckenham Tofts, Langford, Stanford, Sturston, Tottington and West ToftsThe battle area includes four historic churches; the one at West Tofts was restored by Pugin and a new “church” forms part of the specially constructed village of Eastmere.  Eastmere was originally built to give soldiers experience of fighting on the northern European plains.In 2009 a 12.5-acre (51,000 m2) village designed to replicate its Afghan equivalent, was added to the Battle Area for the training of troops deployed in support of the War in Afghanistan.

“We were very lucky to be able to take part in this tour (there are only 8 year) . Stanta Training Area was closed to the public, in 1942 and the residents given 1 week to leave (which was extended to a month), (So much history, there is not enough space for it all here). and as such it has retained its flora and fauna. We were treated to a most interesting and at times amusing visit, as our Army guide showed us around with a most informative presentation. We were also treated to an actual Army Exercise, and played the part of ‘Refuges’, as we made our way around the area and through the road blocks. I had no idea what to expect, and it far exceeded anything I could have imagined.” Angela Weatherill

You can see more photos here in a slide show put together by Debbie Harris.

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