Contributed by Alan Powell
The village lost several men in both world wars and the plaques at Parkend Memorial Hall make sad reading. The Forester Training School was commandeered by the War Office during WWII. It was used by the American army as a headquarters for their troops stationed in the Forest. After the war it reverted to being a forestry school until it was bought by Avon County Council in 1972 for use as a field-studies centre. It continues to host groups of school children.
In 1942 the Forestry Commission provided nest boxes at Nagshead in the hope that Pied Flycatchers would control Oak Leafroller Moths, which were defoliating trees required for the war effort. The boxes have been continually monitored since 1948, making it the UK’s longest bird breeding programme. In 1974, the R.S.P.B. took over joint running of the site and it is now open to the public as a nature reserve.
The houses known as ‘The Square’ were demolished in the mid 1950’s and their occupants re-housed in a new council estate. Another housing development, of 26 dwellings, was built near the railway station, in 2004.
Whitemead Park continued as the Forestry Commission’s headquarters until it was bought by the Civil Service Motoring Association in 1970. It opened as a caravan site in 1971 and is now the largest accommodation facility in the Forest.
Freight operations on the railway and loading wharf continued right up until 1976 – a period of well over 100 years. Much of the track was then dismantled, but the line was bought by the Dean Forest Railway Preservation Society and Parkend station was officially re-opened by Princess Anne on 19 May 2006.