Spirit of Wartime Sherwood


This project aims to uncover and share the impact of the Second World War on the Sherwood Forest area, its landscape and communities.  There are several different strands to the project, all of which have opportunities for local people to get involved!


Read our latest Spirit of Wartime Sherwood blogs here, written by Susie, and students from Nottingham Trent University

mercian archaeology

We are working with Mercian Archaeology Services CIC to record the archaeological evidence of military activity in several sites across the area, including the RSPB Visitor Centre, Ransom Wood and Thoresby Estate.  Features include train platforms, munition storage pits, a communication centre and a tank wash.  Volunteers of all ages and abilities have joined our recording days, including veterans and home-educating families.

Planes SOWS
Heritage Skills Courses

We offer courses to people who want to research their family history, especially those whose relatives served in the armed forces during WWII or who have documents or letters that are difficult to read.  We have had a palaeography course (reading historic handwriting) and an RAF-focused genealogy course (using documents and service records).  We are facilitating an oral history course for activity coordinators in care homes to help capture spoken stories from first or second generations who may share them towards the end of their lives with those caring for them and help care staff share these moments with the individuals’ families.


We are promoting the fascinating WWII history of the area: not everything in Sherwood Forest is Robin Hood!  We launched a website featuring promotional videos, links, information and maps, including seven sites directly linked to WWII history in the Sherwood Forest and Newark area.

Talks and Research

We have a program of online talks given by visiting experts during the autumn and winter months covering a diverse range of topics related to Sherwood Forest’s WWII heritage and beyond.  We also partner with local experts to research to understand better the impact of WWII on the area, its landscapes, and communities, and share this through public engagement and education opportunities.

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We are working with care homes and individuals across the Sherwood Forest and Newark area to deliver reminiscence sessions and capture oral history stories to provide residents with well-being opportunities and contribute contextual research alongside our archaeological and desk-based research.  These stories will be woven together to create a representative fictional narrative which will be told at our finale event and recorded for each participant to keep and share.


We work with schools, colleges, and home education networks to provide learning and engagement opportunities with the project in several ways, including facilitating trips to museums, evacuee day experiences and in-school activities.  We also partner with other projects and organisations to provide hands-on experience days and learning activities featuring broader subjects such as identity and tolerance through learning about POWs, and the local impact of WWII.


Join us at our events!

  • Set in the beautiful grounds of Thoresby Park be taken back to WW2.
  • Experience life in military camps, from the view of both Allied and Axis.
  • See how life on the Homefront was and vehicles that would have graced our roads.
  • Treat yourself to something Vintage from the traders in the Vintage Village.
  • As if this wasn’t enough, take a seat and enjoy listening to songs from the 40s sung by the wonderful entertainers.
  • Bring a picnic and enjoy a day out with family, friends or by yourself and make new friends
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Education Resources

Our research has been used to produce educational resources, in partnership with Miner 2 Major. You can find super useful posters, videos, and much more here. These resources consider;

  • How did the First and Second World Wars impact the Century of Change and the Sherwood Forest area?
  • What is the evidence of the impact of the First and Second World Wars on Sherwood Forest and surrounding villages?
  • How has War changed the communities in and around Sherwood Forest.
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Oral History

Watch this Countryfile episode of the hidden histories of Sherwood Forest, which featured our project’s Oral History strand.

Find out the role Sherwood Forest played as a training ground in the First World War, and meet 94-year-old Kevin Topham, who shares the story of how the discovery of black gold in the forest helped to shape victory during WWII. Discover why Sherwood Forest has a missing generation of oaks and how premature ageing is helping to fill the gap.

Susie McGraw

Meet Susie,

Susie is our Community Engagement & Education Officer, and runs our Spirit of Wartime Sherwood Project. Through our project, she is helping local heritage and community groups to research and share World War Two stories.

Read her Spirit of Wartime Sherwood blogs here, as well as blogs written by Nottingham University students.

Family walking in Sherwood LARGE photo

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