Nuthampstead, 1969

Nuthampstead countryside on the site of a second world war military airfield Elizabeth Hamilton

During the second world war, a military airfield was built on agricultural land at rural Nuthampstead in the north-eastern part of Hertfordshire.

Following the war it was closed, most of the runways removed, and a new woodland planted by the Forestry Commission on part of the site with the rest returned to its pre-war agricultural use.  However, in 1969 the site was shortlisted by the government sponsored Roskill Commission for a new London airport.  CPRE Hertfordshire (then known as ‘The Hertfordshire Society’) produced evidence of the landscapes and historic buildings which would be impacted by the proposal, including the church at Great Hormead that had been there since Saxon times.  CPRE described the area as ‘one of the loveliest stretches of completely unspoilt countryside within 50 miles of London’.  Cublington in Buckinghamshire was eventually chosen as the site for the new airport before the whole project was abandoned in 1974.