Lancashire At War.co.uk

Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire

Keldy Army Camp

The site of Keldy Castle in North Yorkshire was requisitioned from the Reckitt family during World War Two by the Army. The main house, while having bits crenellated, was really just a stately home. According to internet sources and a reader who contacted us, such was the damage to the house during its army use, it was demolished after the war. According to a Forestry Commission pamphlet from 1996, 800 troops were stationed on the site. It was bought by the Forestry Commission in 1947 and the castle was demolished in 1956 having fallen into disrepair.

 

The Forestry Commission built log cabins as holiday homes and the site opened in 1978. According the 1996 Forestry Commission pamplet, some of the original cabins (not the ones in place today) were built on the concrete bases left over from the army camp. Some concrete bases from the camp do still exist and were never used for the log cabins. These are in an area of private woodland that at times has had a consessionary footpath through them but on more recent visits have no such access.

The last builing - the Camp NAFFI Cinema

During the 1980's and 1990's our family often holidayed at the cabins. There wasn't a great deal to do on the site - but we always enjoyed playing badminton and table tennis in the only remaining WW2 building. It was a large nissan hut-type building - a brick structure on a concrete base with a corrugated roof. Formerly it had been a cinema and inside you could climb the steps up to where the projectionist would have stood. Outside there were still (back then) a few of the advertising boards saying "forthcoming attractions" etc.. How we wish now we had taken photographs of these and indeed the building itself. The building was demolished after the turn of the Century when the site was taken over by the Caravan & Camping club and new log cabins were built where it once stood.

 

Left: Two new cabins now stand in its place

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When we could go into these woods we saw these old bases (seen Right) which are also visible from the campsite itself.

 

There is also a road (Left) between the buildings which we are sure is contemporary with them.

 

There are some other unknown structures in the same area. Below Left and Below Right 

is a square narrow sunken structure that looks similar to an escape route out of an air raid shelter, but due to its height relative to the other structures could simply be a drain.

 

Finally, Below, are two photos of a strange structure that may be nothing to do with the site's Second World War usage. It is a short, thick walled brick structure with a collapsed roof. It has a small opening in one wall.

 

Has anyone any ideas? Could it have had a forestry use? Or a gamekeeper's use? Please contact us if you know.

Right:

An aerial image from 2002 courtesy of Google Earth showing the builidng still standing.

 

The woods to the right are where the other hut bases pictured above still stand

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BELOW: An earlier undated Forestry Commission pamplet showing the original layout of the cabins. The woods at the top right of the image (East of the site) are the ones where the WW2 bases still exist. The original NAFFI is the large building in the centre labelled 'Badminton and soft tennis'.