WW2 Nissen Hut & Upottery Airfield Heritage Centre

If you like history you must come and visit, the WW2 Nissen Hut and Upottery Airfield Heritage Centre in the village of Smeatharpe near Upottery. The centre commemorates the role the Airfield played during the Normandy landings and really is a well worth a visit.

Upottery Airfield was the last of three wartime airfields to be built on the Blackdown Hills. On 25th & 26th April 1944, the USAAF 439th Troop Carrier Group arrived by air and road from Balderton Airfield, Nottinghamshire bringing four Troop Carrier Squadrons each, with around twenty Douglas C-47 transport planes in preparation for the invasion of Normandy on D Day.

Shortly afterwards over 1300 American paratroops from the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, moved down from Aldbourne, Wiltshire together with over 1000 American glider troops of the 325th and 401st Glider Infantry Regiments, 82nd Airborne Division.

The exhibition in the Heritage Centre features a unique collection of photographs of Aircraft and Personnel preparing for the invasion, as well as film of the Aircraft taking off for the missions. Many of the photographs are on loan from the family of the late Col Charles H Young, who was the war-time USAAF Commander of the 439th TCG.

The photographs show the training the pilots undertook, the briefings, and also show the troops literally minutes before they flew to Normandy!

They provide a rare insight into what took place prior to D Day and the missions that took place after the invasion.

We have also recently acquired a fascinating video interview with Charles Young, describing the mission and what took place.

We think you will not fail to be moved and impressed by the courage and bravery of those who spearheaded the Normandy invasion and who gave us the freedom we enjoy today

If you are a fan of THE BAND OF BROTHERS s TV Series, come and see our pictures of the real Band of Brothers. Upottery being the departure airfield for the well known, men of ‘Easy Company’, 2nd battalion the 506th PIR, who were famously featured in Stephen Spielberg’s TV series.

In addition to our photographic collection come and see:-

  • Film of the D day Landings
  • The Uniforms they Wore
  • The Weapons they used
  • The conditions they Lived in
  • Dioramas & Models
  • Local WW2 Memorabilia
  • Shop
  • Uniforms for Children to dress up in

While entry to the exhibition is free we do rely totally on the generosity of visitors and sponsors to maintain this heritage centre.

Please Note: We are a registered Not for Profit charitable educational Trust. All our staff are volunteers who are totally unpaid and we are not funded by any commercial organisation other than our corporate sponsors who help us with our Advertising and marketing.

All our running costs are met by public donations.

Each centre costs approximately £30.00 a day to operate.

So please do help us to keep going by giving us a donation so that we can continue to maintain and develop this centre for future generations.

The Heritage Centre access is all on ground level, with the exception of one room

Free Parking

Children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times. Well behaved dogs are permitted.

GROUPS are very welcome and guided tours are available by prior arrangement. Please see Airfield Tours  Please call us on 07778 85 77 22


The Heritage Centre can provide Tea, Coffee and Biscuits.

However for those seeking more substantial food The Sidmouth Arms in Upottery opens daily throughout the year in line with the Heritage centre’s opening hours and sells a selection of “home” cooked hot and cold food, fresh ground coffee and cakes to round off your visit to the centre.

  • Admission by donation
  • Cherryhayes Farm, Slough Lane, Smeatharpe, Devon EX14 9RD
  • Open Good Friday - the last Sunday in October Thursday - Sunday & Bank Holidays: 11.00 - 16.00
  • www.southwestairfields.co.uk
  • 07778857722
  • info@southwestairfields.co.uk

Outdoor Indoor Walking Other Attraction Heritage & Culture


  • Price Admission by donation
  • Address Cherryhayes Farm, Slough Lane, Smeatharpe, Devon EX14 9RD
  • Opening times Open Good Friday - the last Sunday in October Thursday - Sunday & Bank Holidays: 11.00 - 16.00
  • Website linkwww.southwestairfields.co.uk
  • Phone number 07778857722
  • Email info@southwestairfields.co.uk


  • Accessible/Wheelchair Friendly
  • Café / Restaurant On Site
  • Dog Friendly
  • Family Friendly
  • Free Entry
  • Parking
  • Toilets


  • Outdoor
  • Indoor
  • Walking
  • Other
  • Attraction
  • Heritage & Culture