Laxton – Open Fields
Visitor Centre & Working Heritage Village
Notice from the Trustees
Thee Visitor Centre and toilets are open daily. We are mindful that Covid has not gone away and we respectfully ask you to be considerate of others in your use of our facilities.
Welcome to the Laxton Visitor Centre web site which explains about this Nottinghamshire village and how it is the only remaining working “open field” farming village in Europe still operating this ancient system.
The Visitor Centre is situated within the site of The Dovecote Inn and has displays showing the history of the open fields system, aerial shots of the village, a description of how the system is operated and suggestions as to why it still exists in Laxton.
There is a 23 minute film, which gives a very good insight into how the system has been operated over the years by the Gaits and Common and all the tenant farmers. It explains about the annual inspection of the fields by the Jury and about the Court Leet, which has the power to fine farmers who have transgressed. Cost to view the video is £2.00. We also have a shorter 8 minutes video for school parties and our younger visitors.
Thanks to a grant from the Tourism team at Newark & Sherwood District Council, a new viewing system was installed at the end of September 2017 and is excellent. The multi media screen and player shows the video much more clearly and when not playing, it has a rolling screensaver of photos and files about Laxton Open Fields
This map is owned by the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and has recently been included in its 'Treasures of the Bodleian' exhibition - see below:
Laxton Guides and Souvenirs
The centre has a good range of booklets, mugs, leaflets and maps of the estate etc. The film is also available on DVD from the Dovecote Inn at a cost of £10.00. If you would like us to send you any of the above, please contact us with details of what you require.
2023 Visitor Information Update
There are interpretation boards at points of interest around Laxton. These were replaced in June 2023.
The Visitor Centre booklet was written in 1989 and current supplies are dwindling. Prof. John Beckett of Nottingham University, a Trustee of the Visitor Centre and the original author has revised the text, bringing the information about the ownership of the Estate up to date. Gregor Pierrepont from the Thoresby Settlement is collaborating to ensure the accuracy of these changes. The reprint will be in colour and more up to date photographs and diagrams have been prepared for inclusion. This work is with the printer awaiting a quote and we hope it will be available from the Visitor Centre very soon (August 2023). We will alert people to the new publication here in due course and for the first time it will be available to buy by post direct from the Visitor Centre.
In the meantime, if anyone would particularly like to obtain a copy of the current booklet with the older, black and white photographs, copies remain available in the Visitor Centre priced at £3 or you could contact the Trustees using the contact page.
The Visitor Centre is run by the village and relies entirely on voluntary donations for its income.
The Centre is open daily from dawn to dusk
Are you looking for somewhere a little “different” to hold your Meeting/AGM/ informal gathering? Why not contact us and book the Visitor Centre? We only ask for a donation towards the upkeep of the Centre and hope you enjoy the unique setting and atmosphere.
To book the Centre, please ring the Dovecote Inn, who will also be able to offer you a wide variety of refreshments throughout the day and evening. Telephone the Dovecote Inn on 01777 871586, or click on the link to their web site. www.thedovecoteinnlaxton.co.uk
We hope to hear from you soon.
Conservation Status of Laxton
Newark & Sherwood District Council consulted with the local population and in March 2022 extended the boundary of the existing Laxton conservation Area to include the three open fields.
'Laxton Fields' has been designated a target area for Higher Level Stewardship by Natural England to promote conservation of the historic landscape and biodiversity.
Site last updated: 2nd August 2023