Lepe Country Park’s historic D-Day links celebrated with festival weekend

A rare piece of ‘PLUTO’ and other exhibits from World War II, along with film footage, guided walks and a range of activities, will bring D-Day to life at Lepe Country Park this year

May 29 2019

mulberry harbour aerial view

Hampshire County Council is celebrating the park's special significance to D-Day by hosting the Lepe into History Festival on 1 and 2 June.

Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: "As we prepare to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we're acknowledging the integral role Lepe played in the lead up to that day on 6 June 1944. Lepe was not only where hundreds of men, vehicles and supplies were based but was also the site where the floating 'mulberry' harbours were located, which ultimately contributed to a successful Allied advance into France.

"Through the Lepe into History Festival, visitors of all ages will be able to get a sense of this significant moment in World War Two history, all set on the stunning Solent coastline. We would encourage everyone to come along and soak up the unique heritage and experience."

Across both days of the festival:

  • Visitors will be able to see a range of fascinating artefacts and interactive activities.
  • Around the park, visitors can advance book to take a guided walk down to the embarkation beach, and children's heritage trails are also available.
  • The education room will host an exhibition so visitors can explore the story of Lepe in the run up to D-Day through story boards, films and displays.

What's on

Saturday evening, 1 June 6pm:

A theatre performance weaving together letter, readings, songs and monologues to bring back to life the wartime voices of soldiers and their families at home.

Sunday morning, 2 June

10.30am to 12pm: a parade along the Lepe road to the cliff top where a short remembrance service by the anchor memorial will be held to mark the 75th anniversary with hymns, readings and prayers. Park at Lepe or Gang Warily and utilise the shuttle bus service.

PLUTO

A rare artefact – a piece of PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) found on the Lepe shoreline by a member of staff will be on display.

PLUTO was designed to supply petrol from storage tanks at locations including Lepe, across the Solent and Isle of Wight to the advancing armies in France, following D-Day. The pipeline eventually extended 770 miles and supplied the army with 172 million gallons of fuel. Very few remnants of it are still available to view on the south coast.

How to get there

A Park and Ride Service will be available from Gang Warily Community Centre in Blackfield (SO45 1GA) between 10am to 5pm. £2 per car.

Visit www.hants.gov.uk/lepe to plan your visit.