Sandford Heritage: Cordite Clay & Calluna

“Sandford Heritage: Cordite Clay & Calluna” was a community heritage project which gave the people of Sandford, near Wareham in Dorset, the opportunity to discover and celebrate the history and wildlife of the heathlands, and the history of the village. It was funded by a grant of £42,000 from the “Your Heritage” programme of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The grant was applied for by the Urban Heaths Partnership who hosted the project and was used for consultancy in oral history (recording people’s memories), archaeology, events, equipment, a publication, and a part time project officer. The project ran from January 2011 to December 2012.  

We hope that some aspects of the project will continue though the 'Sandford Heritage Community Group'. Sandford Heritage Community Group are working to be custodians of the wealth of information, research and capacity built by the first project. We want to promite community involvement in the life and history in the whole of Wareham St Martin Parish, and possible links beyond. We hope to continue and develop recording, protect heritage information, research and sites and find ways we can all get involved in decisions about our heritage. Anyone in Sandford or with an interest in it's history can join the group.

Wareham St Martin Parish Boundary

Heathland is a rare and protected habitat which is home to some unique wildlife, such as species of snakes, lizards and birds. Send in your wildlife sitings for our local roundup to b.lagden@dorsetcc.gov.uk 01202 642787. Heathland is semi-natural evolving alongside man’s activities over thousands of years. Now to maintain it's specialist, uniquely adapted and diverse wildlife requires active management and ARC, Natural England, The Morden Estate and the Forestry Commission manage some of our heathland sites. In the past the Sandford heathlands were used for grazing and for cutting turf and gorse for fuel. Heather was used for animal bedding, and as a packing material for the products of the potteries.

Sand and clay were dug for making bricks and pottery. This is how the village of Sandford began, as Wareham’s industrial backyard! Brick-making began in the middle of the 18th century. Sandford Pottery opened in 1860, and remained a distinctive feature of Sandford until 1979; Forest Edge housing development was built on the site. In the First World War, the cordite factory at Holton Heath was built on heathland. Cordite was a propellant used in naval ammunition. People participated in 46 events with 48 volunteer helpers, researchers and 800 copies of the project booklet with 14 local contributors distributed to local people. Wildlife recording took place and has continued.  A Project Celebration took part in the middle school with primary school children and former teachers about the history of the First School. This website was set up by local volunteers and now has 8 web article contributors and we plan to continue this website. An Education Pack was also developed and made available to the Primary School.

There are still heritage activities that people can get involved with, we are still recording the reminiscences of people who worked in the former industries, or who knew Sandford in the past; researching the history of the area in old photographs, documents and maps; recording heathland animals and plants, and helping look after the heaths.