The Bombing of The Obelisk in WW2



So last week I was told by someone local that during the Second World War a German bomber, on route home from a sortie on Coventry, had dropped a bomb and narrowly missed the Obelisk leaving a large crater. It was thought that the Obelisk was a communication tower. Or perhaps the pilot had a spare bomb and was trying some target practice.  Whatever the reason I’ve looked up there and it’s hard to determine if there is an actual crater or the undulating land around the landmark is natural. Also at this time of year there is so much glass that’s it’s nearly impossible to make out if there’s any kind of crater.  We would love to know a little more on this – has anyone heard of this story or can they provide any further info.



Some great new pictures being added to the Facebook page at the moment

This one from Noel Clements

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Royal Engineers Brass Band practising in the Welcombe Hills during WW1



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The Facebook group continues to throw up some great info on the hills. This was posted by Joy Arnold a few days ago.  I’m sure anyone who is familiar with the hills will recognise this spot on Rowley Fields, the lower part of the Welcombe Hills near the access point on Maidenhead Road.   You can see the FB post HERE 




The Mystery of “The Swimming Pool”

This topic comes up from time to time and is still a perplexing mystery as to what it actually is.  Part of the problem with getting to the bottom of what The Swimming Pool is, is that we aren’t necessarily talking about the same thing.  So some people reminisce about swimming in a pool on The Welcombe Hills as children but are we discussing this pool or other pools?  For example we know there was once an open air pool over at the Welcombe Hotel and also one that was in the grounds of Clopton House itself.

Mike Anderson (who runs the nature website has created this photo below with notes to outline exactly where it is so we’re all talking about the same thing:

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Below are some pictures of the site we took a few days ago :



It’s deep enough to be of concern to the Health & Safety people





Not something you would want to swim in particularly



The shallow end with steps



Is it a tank or a swimming pool?


The conversation has bubbled away on Facebook for some weeks.

General theories

A swimming pool

The main argument against it being a swimming pool is simply that it’s such an odd place to site a swimming pool! It also has a higher bank on one side. Although not an expert on installing pools, I would have thought that if you went to the trouble to dig out a big swimming pool the designers would have spent an equal amount of time landscaping the area around it.  It certainly isn’t conducive to lounging around.

The argument for it being a swimming pool are that it clearly has steps and it appears to have a shallow end.  Why would someone creating a water storage tank go to the trouble of putting in steps and constructing with an incline?

An ancient water storage tank

Some people have said that it could be ancient, of Roman origin. There were numerous settlements in this area over the past millennia (read this great post on the abandoned villages of Welcombe Hills).  We would love a historian to give a viewpoint on this.  Could a concrete pond survive for this long?

A feeder tank to supply Clopton House

My money is on this.  Mike’s photo seems to indicate an irrigation arrangement that feeds water from the hills into a series of storage tanks that would have fed the main house.  There has been a grand house on the site of Clopton House since 1450 (read the wikipedia here).  The house was rebuilt in the 1700’s and then had a substantial extension added in 1840 – large houses like this were big operations, like businesses rather than simply a place to live.  They required significant man power to keep then running and there would have been a need for a lot of water for cooking, cleaning and livestock.  Furthermore some cursory research has shown that swimming pools as a concept only really took off in the 1850’s when the masses moved to the cities. Even then, they were primarily used for hygiene rather than leisure.


Thoughts very much welcome on this topic – and to properly solve the mystery does anyone have any photographs of it being used as a swimming pool?

Visit the Facebook page to add your comments – or if you’re not into social media you can send in any info you have, thoughts or ideas via the contact page and we’ll post it underneath this article.















The Coffee Morning was a great success


Using the most up to date scientific crowd measuring technology (how many disposable cups were used!) we’ve estimated that 200 residents from Stratford came out in the sleet and rain this morning at 9:00 to show their support. Part of me thinks it a shame that it takes something so serious as trying to block a housing development to have a coffee with your neighbours. Perhaps when this is over and we’ve sent The Trust and their developers packing that we can do this again just for fun.

Lots more photos over on our Facebook page >> click here



Shottery Scouts, C1960, Welcombe Hills

This was provided by Martin Young (second from the left) who remembers camping on the hills with the Shottery Scouts some time in the early 60’s.

What stands our for me is the fabulous photography.

Shottery Scouts, Welcombe Hills, C 1960

The Jubilee Beacon

We heard about the Beacon about a week before the Jubilee and were so intrigued to see how it was all going to work that we went up the morning to check it out.

Beacon under construction on the morning of the Jubilee 4th June 2012

It was pretty much made of building pallets and straw.  This is what it looked like after the Mayor, Keith Lloyd, set fire to it!

The beacon with fireworks from a distant hill evening of Jubilee 4th June 2012