Classified: Operation Clumber Park

Winston Churchill with NELLIE, Clumber Park 1941

Classified: Operation Clumber Park will look to tell the many stories of wartime Clumber Park through interpretation, recreation, events and activities. Here's a selection of highlights.

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'Nellie' - Trench digging prototype tank

Winston Churchill was a firm believer in the importance of science and technology in warfare.

One of his brainwaves, originally dreamed up during the First World War, was a trench-digging tank codenamed Naval Land Equipment tractor, amusingly shortened to ‘Nellie’.

Five prototypes were built by Ruston Bucyrus in Lincoln and tested at Clumber Park.

Winston Churchill inspecting Nellie prior to its demonstration run on November 6th 1941 on South Lawn
Winston Churchill and Nellie
Winston Churchill inspecting Nellie prior to its demonstration run on November 6th 1941 on South Lawn

In late 1941, Churchill actually travelled up to Clumber to see Nellie in action. After a train ride from London, Churchill completed his journey by car and then, for nearly a mile, on foot through the mud to the test site.

The huge machine, measuring 23 metres long (a whopping 75 feet), two metres wide and 2.5 metres high consisted of two parts. At the rear came the tank, weighing 100 tons, pushing the 30-ton front section which was capable of digging a trench 1.5m deep and two metres wide.

The trenches Nellie dug shaped the landscape at Clumber Park, particularly on South Lawns - effects that can still be seen today.

Our recreation of Nellie
Our recreation of Nellie
Our recreation of Nellie

We are proud to have recreated Nellie, on 'Amy's Corner' near the main visitor facilities. You can enter the tank itself, hear the low growl of the engines, smell the engine oil and learn more about Nellie and the visit of Winston Churchill.

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The Grade II listed war memorial at Clumber Park
The War Memorial at Clumber Park
The Grade II listed war memorial at Clumber Park

The landscapes of Clumber Park have altered dramatically through periods of adversity and change. In more recent times the Park was used as a place for Winston Churchill’s top secret project Nellie/White Rabbit to be tested, helping shape the current landscape and habitats with the disturbance of the soil.

Today our conservation teams work hard to replicate this helpful accident, creating important habitats and landscapes across the park. Join our Rangers on these guided walks for a chance to see the results of this work and find out why this is so important, not only to Clumber Park but on a national scale.

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Stand Firm, Strike Hard. The Museum of the Mercian Regiment

Normally based at Nottingham Castle the Museum has been creating local partnerships to share stories. The exhibition focuses on World War Two and the role played by The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment) who served in Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and those soldiers who served in the Home Guard during 1939-1945.

Stand Firm, Strike Hard. The Museum of the Mercian Regiment
Stand Firm, Strike Hard. The Museum of the Mercian Regiment
Stand Firm, Strike Hard. The Museum of the Mercian Regiment

The exhibition features items from the museum’s collection and shares the stories of local soldiers who came from the area surrounding Clumber Park.

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