During World War I the Sherwood Foresters Regiment of the British Army—the local regiment for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, the two counties that contained the ancient Sherwood Forest—lost a staggering 11,410 men. The members of the regiment were awarded nine Victoria Crosses, more than any of the British Army’s elite Guards regiments.
To commemorate this loss, a lighthouse-like tower was constructed in 1923. The public feeling for this memorial is evident by the fact that the iron railings at the base of the tower were spared the fate of most decorative iron railings during WWII which were melted down for the war effort.
The tower was erected at this particular location in Crich to satisfy the feelings of both counties, away from the barracks at Derby but in Derbyshire and in sight of the Nottinghamshire border. As a result, it appears like a rogue lighthouse located 100 miles from the sea.
Whether you wish to visit the site for its historic significance or for the architecture, if you go on a clear day you will not fail to be impressed by the view from the beacon chamber at the top of the tower. From here you can see the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Lancashire and Lincolnshire. On a very clear day, without binoculars, you can make out Lincoln Cathedral over 50 miles away.
Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are coal mining areas and many young men with mining experience who volunteered for the Sherwood Foresters between 1914 and 1918 were enlisted into the Regiment and then diverted to the Royal Engineers to take part in the highly dangerous subterranean mine warfare on the Western Front. Their fallen are not included in the 11,410 total.
Know Before You Go
The tower can be ascended free of charge but there is a small charge for parking.