• Sarah

THE FIREPLACE IN THE FOREST: THE WAR MEMORIAL TO THE PORTUGUESE LABOURERS OF WORLD WAR I

With its location so close to major ports, the New Forest not surprisingly saw a large military presence and a great deal of change during World War I. There is very little evidence left of that time in the forest’s history as nature has reclaimed much of it, but a few little pockets remain. One of these is a stone fireplace, standing alone in the forest surrounded by trees, ferns and horses, which now acts as a memorial to the Portuguese who helped with the Allied war effort.

The Portuguese fireplace in the New Forest against a backdrop of trees.
The lone fireplace stands as a memorial to labourers of World War I

In one of the most picturesque spots in the New Forest, the fireplace is more than just a poignant reminder of the war. Built of stone and surrounded by trees, ferns, bracken and assorted wildlife, with horses munching contentedly nearby, birds hopping around the overgrowth and barely a distant hum of traffic, the fireplace also stands as a testament to how nature can reclaim places which were once filled with human activity.


It is a beautiful location for a walk, a picnic, a gentle meander through the forest exploring its sights, sounds and scents. Easily accessible to the slow traveller, it is close to other sites that may be of interest, such as the Knightwood Oak, Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary and the Canadian Memorial. Pubs and restaurants are within easy cycling or walking distance, and a day spent exploring these places in the forest would see you experiencing nearly every type of forest landscape in one very peaceful day.