Laxton is internationally reknowned as the only village in England still operating the mediaeval 'open field' farming system, whereby strips of unenclosed land are divided up between tenant farmers and crops follow a strict annual rotation. The Visitor Centre, in the heart of the attractive village, is run entirely by volunteers and contains displays showing the history of the field system and how it has been operated over the years by the Gaits and Common and all the tenant farmers. Visitors can also view a video explaining the annual inspection of the fields and the Court Leet, which has the power to fine farmers who have 'transgressed'. The Centre has a good range of literature on the subject as well as leaflets detailing suggested walks around the open fields.
The remains of the county's largest motte and bailey castle can also be seen in the village; it served as the administrative centre of Sherwood Forest in the 13th and 14th centuries, and provided a venue for forest courts as well as a stopping off point for monarchs.
On the outskirts of the village is the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre - the first of its kind to be established in Britain. It illustrates the history of the holocaust in a sensitive manner and the gardens offer a peaceful setting for contemplation.
Laxton Visitor Centre
Open field walks - leaflets available from the Visitor Centre, situated opposite the Dovecote Inn
Motte and bailey castle
Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre
Parking: adjacent to Visitor Centre.
‘A History of Laxton: England’s Last Open Field Village’ can be obtained from the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre also has a new website: www.laxtonvisitorcentre.org.uk
To read more about the history and archeology of the Laxton castle site, please go to www.laxtoncastle.org.uk.