The Ploughing Up of Corhampton Golf Course – Mr Silvester’s Letter

Hampshire Chronicle 1942 – Editorial Archive

A collection of the correspondence published in the Hampshire Chronicle starting in 1942 regarding the use of the land within Corhampton Golf Course can be viewed here.

To the Editor of the Hampshire Chronicle:

Sir, I think it possible that you may be interested in the following excerpts from correspondence which I have had with the War Agricultural Executive Committee concerning their proposal that I should plough up a portion of the Corhampton Golf Course which hitherto I have used as pasturage for my flock of sheep:-

 From the War Agricultural Executive Committee, Petersfield, 9th Sept., 1942 :-

“I am informed by representatives of the above (Corhampton Golf Club) club that you propose to plough the whole of the course, and you state that this has been agreed by the War Agricultural Committee. I have to inform you that it is my Committee’s opinion that certain areas of the course be preserved in the public interest, and that it is being recommended to the Executive Committee that you be required to plough a total of 25-40 acres approximately, being the area south of the club house and adjoining the road (12 acres approximately), and the centre part of Droxford Down (25 acres approximately).”

Reply dated 16th Sept, 1942, from J. Silvester :-

“You state in your letter that ‘certain areas of the course should be preserved in the public interest,’ and I must confess that I am a little at a loss to understand precisely the advantage to the public which you have in mind. It seems to me that in the present emergency the real interest of the public lies more in the the direction of food production. This particular stretch of down has for many years been used for pasturing my sheep. When the Committee proposed that a portion of it should be ploughed I informed them that, although I considered the down would be serving a better purpose if let as pasture, I was prepared to plough if they insisted, but that in these circumstances it would be necessary for me to sell my entire flock and plough the whole of the down. As the Committee continued to recommend that the land should be ploughed I disposed of my flock. The consequence is that this stretch of land which you suggest should be left unploughed will be completely wasted. I have no sheep to pasture on it now and it will therefore become derelict. Perhaps you would let me know whether it is in the Committee’s opinion that the public interest will be being served if this considerable stretch of down is used for producing neither crops nor stock as will be the case if I follow the instructions given in your letter.”

Reply from War Agricultural Executive Committee, Winchester, 16th Sept., 1942 :-

“In regard to the Corhampton Golf Course, the Committee has acted in accordance with the Ministry’s instructions to plough out for purposes of food production such portions of the down as will not interfere with reasonable use for the amenity and recreational purposes by a properly constituted club.” While drawing your attention to this correspondence, I can only add that the net result of the Committee’s attitude is that land which might have been used reasonably ‘for amenity and recreational purposes by a properly constituted club,’ and, at the same time, have aided in the general agricultural effort by providing pasturage for sheep as it always has in the past, now becomes a total loss to the general public in so far as food production is concerned.

Yours, &c,. J. SILVESTER

North End Farm, Droxford, Hants 

To the Editor of the Hampshire Chronicle:

Sir, Mr. Silvester in his letter of 3rd October says that “the order of the Hampshire War Agriculture Executive Committee to plough up about 40 acres of the down made it necessary for him to sell his entire stock of sheep.”

Would Mr. Silvester be good enough to tell your readers:- (1) The acreage of the pasture left on the down after he had obeyed the orders of the Committee?; (2) the acreage of North End Farm and the acreage of pasture upon it as on 1st Sept., 1942?; (3) the acreage of other pastures available to Mr. Silvester on lands adjacent to his farm and occupied by him? The H.W.A.E.C must have had all this information before they made their order, and if Mr. Silvester will furnish these figures your readers will be able to judge whether the sale of his flock was “necessary”.