Cordite to calluna: the view from Nitroglycerine Hill

This event presents a chance to visit the former Royal Naval Cordite Factory site at Holton Heath. The Sandford Heritage Community Group is taking part in the “Drawing Inspiration” project. The Dorset landscape has inspired artists for centuries, and this project focuses on depictions of the Dorset landscape through art, photography and other media, and the changes – physical, cultural and social - that these artworks document.

The landscape around Sandford was transformed during WW1 when the huge cordite factory was built at Holton Heath. The Sandford area was also worked for clay, and supported potteries such as Sandford Pottery. The post-industrial landscape at Holton Heath has now largely reverted to nature, so that much of the area is now a heathland National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

Two open days provide a rare opportunity for the public to gain access to the factory grounds and to view the amazing model of the area measuring 21 x 18 feet, built by staff during WW2. There will be family clay workshops, displays charting the changing landscape of this part of Dorset, tours of part of the factory site and tours of Sandford Heath National Nature Reserve.

  • Saturday 5th April 10am–1pm

  • Sunday 13th April 1.30–4.30pm


  • This is a free event but donations to the local Holton Lee charity, which is also taking part, will be welcomed. Booking is required as numbers are limited. Please contact 01202 694830 or e-mail