Northwood's history

Canadian Forestry Corp at Northwood lumber camp in First World War

Northwood is bursting with history, with much being identified through archaeological evidence, maps, books and more recently, photos. We have been working closely with our National Trust Archaeologist, Tom Dommet and Worthing Archaeological Society to identify the significant areas of archaeology on the site. These will be marked out to help us ensure that open space is kept to protect important historical features. It will also give us the opportunity to share this incredible history with Northwood visitors for years to come.


Thanks to Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) surveying, we’ve uncovered even more secrets hidden within the realms of Northwood. LiDAR measures the height of the ground surface and other features in large areas of landscape using light sensors. With this technology, we’ve been able to find and locate field patterns and burial mounds which show evidence of settlement and farming from prehistoric and Romano-British times. These sensitive areas will be marked out and left as open space to help preserve this fascinating history.

A brief history of Northwood

Here is just a taster of the history hidden within the realms of Northwood……

Prehistoric Period 500,000BC – 43AD – Various artefacts from Mesolithic and Neolithic period have been found within the area. These range from flint scatter to tools such as axes. A significant Bronze Age barrow cemetery is located in one of the fields consisting of 10 barrows. Iron Age field systems have been recorded in the northern part of the site.

Romano British 43AD – 410 AD – Through aerial photography and building material finds, four possible settlement sites have been identified within the area. Stane Street roman road is located directly to the north of the site.

Early Medieval and Medieval Period 410AD – 1540 AD – The area would have been part of the Arundel Hunting Forest. There is little evidence for the type of land use during this period, but it is likely the area was under woodland cover; a bank is present in the North West corner which may suggest a medieval field system.

Post Medieval 1540 – 1900 AD – No sites have been found in this period as the area is likely to have been woodland.

1783 – Area appears as woodland on the earliest detailed map of area drawn up in 1783.
Up to 1880 – Wood pasture and common land where commoners grazed cattle and pigs. A bank can be seen surrounding the area today which may have been used to keep livestock within the bounds of the woodland.

1880 – Enclosure of Northwood. This enclosure happened at the same time as the enclosure of Slindon Common south of Slindon Village. The network of paths seen today appear on the maps from this time.

1st World War (1914 – 1918) – A large percentage of Eartham Wood and Northwood were felled for timber during WWI. Records from the Canadian Foresters working in the area suggest that all of the felled wood was hardwood, with most being beech.

Interwar Years (1918 – 1939) – The area that was clear felled was abandoned with some scrub developing but high rabbit populations would have kept the area open.

2nd World War (1939 – 1945) – Under the War Agricultural Acts, the area of Northwood was ploughed up.

1948 – The Forestry Commission took on Eartham Wood on a 999 year lease (273 hectares). Majority of beech is planted between 1940 and 1955.

1950 – The National Trust was given the Slindon Estate by Frederick Wootton Isaacson.
September 2013 – Northwood returns to National Trust and Courthill Farm is taken on by a new tenant.

To find out a little more about Northwood's history, take a look at a local historian's website detailing the intriguing part that Slindon played in the First and Second World Wars.