AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 34

PILOT BRIEFING
POSTCARDS |

Flying in Merrie Olde England
Land of Robin Hood, castles, lords and ladies, and the RAF
BY PETER HEWKIN

STATUE OF ROBIN HOOD

in Nottingham.

WHAT DO A 1,250-foot grass aerodrome; Robin Hood; Mayflower
Pilgrims; the Domesday Book; 617 " Dambusters " Royal Air Force
Squadron; the first jet engine; Sir Isaac Newton; two British prime
ministers; 13,000-year-old Neolithic cave art; various lords, ladies,
and kings; and a Ryder Cup golf course have in common? And all
within a 30-mile radius?
My hometown of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom,
is unique in its flying, historic, geological, cultural, military, and
even sporting features, making it one of the most fascinating, yet
underappreciated, places in the country.
Worksop, " the Gateway to the Dukeries, " is mentioned in
the 1086 Domesday Book, the first survey of England by King
William the Conqueror; the town features a twelfth-century
Norman Priory church and gatehouse and a Dark Ages castle. A
minor skirmish occurred during the Wars of the Roses between
Lancashire and Yorkshire in the fifteenth century. Worksop is 15

34 | AOPA PILOT June 2021

miles south of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (EGCN), formerly the
Royal Air Force field Finningley. Terrified no one would recognize either Doncaster or Sheffield, planners originally called the
airport simply Robin Hood; unfortunately, passengers expected
Nottinghamshire, not Yorkshire! The towns of Scrooby and
Austerfield-home of several Mayflower Pilgrims-sit directly
under its flightpath.
The original Sherwood Forest occupied a quarter of
Nottinghamshire; much reduced, it still contains a National
Nature Reserve with Robin Hood's hideout, the famous 23-ton
Major Oak; Thoresby Hall (former home of the Duke of
Kingston, now a five-star Warner Hotel); Clumber Park (Duke of
Newcastle and a World War II training area set up by Sir Winston
Churchill); Worksop Manor (Duke of Norfolk), and the stunning
Welbeck Abbey (the eccentric fifth Duke of Portland drove his
coach through tunnels under his estate to the Worksop railway
station), all just south of Worksop.
Creswell Crags Heritage site has the oldest Neolithic (13,000
years old) cave paintings found anywhere in the world at this latitude, and it was another legendary hideout for Robin Hood and
his Merry Men; it forms part of a limestone geological fault linking all three lakes of Creswell, Clumber, and Welbeck, all viewable
in a single amazing flight.
Former World War II RAF bases, the two local airfields here
could hardly be more different: Three miles west, Netherthorpe
(EGNF) has the shortest (1,250 feet) licensed grass runway in
England, home to a flying school, enthusiastic owner operators,
cafe, and an occasional Tiger Moth biplane; the 613 RAF Squadron
Auxiliary Air Force operated reconnaissance/rescue flights during
World War II. A slightly longer runway (1,800 feet) is available.
Gamston Airfield (EGNE), six miles east, was built in 1942,
and as RAF Gamston, operated Wellington bombers and Hawker
Hurricane fighters. A 5,500-foot hard-surface runway accommodates a Citation business jet hub and flight schools. Night flying
warning: There are no free pilot-operated lights in the U.K.



AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover4
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