Shoulder Flash of the 7th Armoured Division. The Desert Rats.Virtual walk of the Shakers Wood and High Ash Camps. Forestry Commission Logo





This page allows you see some of the sights in and around the High Ash Camp and Shakers Wood area where the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) were stationed in January to May 1944 before leaving for the staging areas and the subsequent invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

It is meant to give an idea of what is here to see and we strongly recommend that you go to the site and walk the trail laid out for you to experience the location for yourself, by seeing the beautiful woodland in person and exploring the many locations and archeology that remain there.

During your walk please respect the country side and following the rules of the Forestry Commission. To help you find your way the trail is sign posted using wooden posts with the Division's Jerboa badge on them. Many have direction arrows to help you find your way.

These are example posts:

You will also find places to sit and rest during your walk if you wish as per the example below


The map below shows you the various points of interest along the route which is divided into two walks. The first takes you from the Memorial Tank through the forest to Shakers Wood camp area. This has a hard surface designed to provide easy access to the forest. 

After this you can return to the start or take the longer second walk via the REME Workshop area up to High Ash Camp and then back through the forest to the start again. The latter walk does go through woodland and has a natural surface, though many parts of it are on concrete/hard surfaces.


Map of the walks through Shakers Wood and High Ash Camp




4th County of London Yeomanry Tank Park


Guard Room and Orderly Room


Sergeants Mess


Walk through the woods, following the Jerboa signposts.


Support Unit area


This is the area of the Officers Cookhouse, but also a crossroads to other areas of High Ash Camp.


Atop the hill


Walk in the Woods following the Jerboa signposts.


Inside the Forest, following the Jerboa signposts.


Up the hill or walk through the woods, following the Jerboa signposts.


Other end of REME Workshops


Woods near Caravan Camp. Following the Jerboa signposts.


REME workshops


If you wish you can enter the woods and go to the Northern side of the REME Workshop Area this way. Turn left when you get to the junction of the paths and see the Jerboa Post.




End of Walk



The Cromwell Tank and REME.





Start of Desert Rats walk










Walk through the woods, following the Jerboa signposts.


Daily Routine


Cookhouse and Mess Hut


Walk through the woods, following the Jerboa signposts.


Place you mouse over any of the Jerboa Badges Divisional Badge in the above map to find out information about them and then click on it to go to that part of the walk

The links below will also take you to these locations, plus a list of all the locations all the units that made up the 7th Armoured Division, in 1944, as not all the Division was based here.

Walk 1
Start Headquarters Daily Routine Cookhouse and Mess Accommodation
NAAFI Cromwell Tank and REME
Walk 2
REME Workshop Top of Hill Support Unit Area Sergeants Mess Tank Park
Orderly Room & Guard Room Officers Cookhouse End of walk



Contents Page


Locations of all the 7th Armoured Division units before Normandy


Enjoy you walk and the natural beauty and history this location has to offer.


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