Recollections by Mr Ernest Jarvis, transcribed by Geoff Key, Friends of Colwick Woods, May 2008.
I met Mr Ernest Jarvis today. He is 86 years old and has lived locally all his life, apart from 5 years in the navy in the Second World War.
His first memories of Colwick Woods are as a six year old, when his family would go for picnics on the top of the woods. Of course the area was very different then and the walk from Ranby Walk on the Gordon Road Estate became open fields after Carlton Road. Where the Jessie Boot school now stands were 3 large ponds which were known as the Newt Ponds.
Wildlife was abundant then, with rabbits, hares, skylarks, pheasants, chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps. There were nuthatches, mistle thrushes and several varieties of owls, unfortunately most gone nowadays.
Interestingly, large portions of the Woods were still fenced off and inaccessible before the Second World War. The concrete posts can still be seen by the side of the path leading to the Three Hills area and on the top edge of the Woods on that side.
The copse of trees over to the left when facing the Park is on the site of the anti aircraft guns during the Second World War. They were planted when it was filled in after the War. Apparently near this copse – towards the south west – is a 10ft square area where the grass is lighter. This was the site of an AA gun from the First World War, circa 1916. In 1940 there were four Bofors guns and in 1916 just one, still a Bofors!
These AA guns were part of a group of four around the city; the others were at Clifton Bridge, Beechdale Road and near the Walter Halls School on the top of Wells Road.
The reservoir comprises two covered areas. The older one is the smaller, built in Victorian times and the larger one in 1982. The old one is fed from water pumped from Lambley whilst water for the newer one comes from Newark. Ernest was told this by an engineer who was working up there.
The Gamekeeper’s Cottage remained until after the War. (It was an ARP post in the War.)
Some depressions in the ground in Roughhill Wood near the Greenwood School are the remains of bomb craters when the Germans tried to bomb the Colwick railway crossing.
The wooded areas are largely unchanged since at least the last 80 years.