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A Review of 2016
The early part of the year was dominated by our Vikings of Sherwood project with workshops covering archaeology and map regression leading up to a week of community archaeology on Thynghowe when over 50 people took part in the dig.
A week later 52 of us returned to Thynghowe where we marked the 200th anniversary of the 1816 perambulation of the Manor of Warsop with a Thing assembly and a revival of the custom of consuming bread, cheese and ale (provided by Warsop Footpaths & Countryside Group) on the slopes of the hill.
In May the re-enactors of Regia Anglorum returned to Sherwood Pines for our Viking Spring Thing weekend marking 1000 years since Canute gained the English throne. One of the highlights was 'The Bear', a 32 foot Viking ship transported to the site from Kent by our sponsors the Canute Group.
In addition to these activities we spread the word about Thynghowe with a display at Mansfield Museum throughout July and also at events including the Great Nottinghamshire Local History Fair at Mansfield Library, Warsop's Carnival, the Local History and Archaeology Day at Nottingham University Museum and the Major Oak Woodland Festival. New publications for 2016 were a booklet about the impact of Canute on our area and a leaflet about Thynghowe.
Following the Thynghowe excavation, work continued on the site as Sean and Andy from Mercian Archaeological Services CIC completed the trenches and organised the environmental sampling. Sean gave preliminary feedback from the excavation at our November workshop and we look forward to more feedback once the final excavation report is completed. Watch this space!
Another aspect of our work is supporting the Forestry Commission with the management of the landscape around Thynghowe including clearing the excavation site, protecting sensitive areas with dead hedges and combatting the rhododendron menace.
All of these outcomes would not have been possible without the support our group enjoys. So a big THANK YOU to Mercian Archaeological Services CIC whose expertise and dedication was responsible for the success of our Vikings of Sherwood project, to Amy and the Forestry Commission for their continuing brilliant support, to the Heritage Lottery Fund who made the Vikings of Sherwood Project possible and to all of our supporters and followers who took part in our activities or encouraged us from further afield.
June 2015 - Great News from the Heritage Lottery Fund
Our application for funding for our project to investigate the archaeology of Thynghowe has been successful! We have been awarded £29,600 for training, an excavation and sharing the outcomes. Between January and June 2016 will be working with our partners Mercian Archaeological Services CIC, The Forestry Commission and the Public Information Research Organisation to investigate the origins of Thynghowe. There will be plenty of opportunities to join in, check the Events page.
January to March 2015 - Surveying in Birklands
This winter's investigations have focessed on an area of southern Birklands where LiDAR revealed a regular depression. By increasing our understanding of this area we hope to discover its origins and whether it is linked to features mentioned on perambulation documents. Our report will be available later this year.
November 2014 - Perambulations, Old maps, LiDAR and Archaeological Chat
This year's workshop session at Sherwood Pines started with discussion of the recent report on the preliminary excavation on Thynghowe and geological evidence for the origins of the old marker stones in Birklands. We then studied superimposed old maps, LiDAR images and aerial photographs of the southern edge of Birklands, relating them to ancient perambulation accounts. Thanks again to the Forestry Commission for their hospitality, to Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services for his expert input and to everybody who came along and contributed.
May 2014 - King John and the Barons
The re-enactors of Regia Anglorum took us back 800 years with their authentic living history village and spectactular arena displays when they came to Sherwood Pines for our second Spring Thing weekend. Thanks to everyone who made this event such a success, particularly Regia, the Forestry Commission and especially the horses who contributed so much to the arena displays!
April 2014 - The 2014 Perambulation Walk to Thynghowe
We followed a different route for this year's walk celebrating the 1816 peramulation of Warsop Manor taking us to the site of St Edwin's Chapel and past the ancient oaks of Clipstone Old Quarter before arriving at Thynghowe where, according to recent custom, we held a mini wapentake.
March 2014 - Walking the ancient trackways of Birklands
Twenty walkers joined us to retrace the ancient routes of 'Gleadthorpe Gate' and 'Nether Warsop Gate' through the Forest. The lines of these trackways were reveled by our LiDAR survey.
February 2014 - Ground Truthing an ancient pond
Over twenty members and friends joined us as we surveyed the area around a depression in the forest that was revealed by our LiDAR survey. We confirmed that this was probably the site of Cabin Pool that was indicated on a map from 1791. We recorded four sections across the area and sampled the soil to check whether the pond was natural or artificially created.
November 2013 - Old maps, LiDAR and historical chat
Thanks to everybody who came to our workshop session at Sherwood Pines where we looked at old maps of the forest and superimposed LiDAR images, modern maps and aerial photographs. Lots of discussion and agreement that we should hold another similar workshop next year. And thank you to the Forestry Commission for their hospitality.
May 2013 - The Vikings came ...
A brilliant weekend! Thanks to everybody who made the event such a success, particularly the re-enactors from Regia Anglorum, Amy and the guys from the Forestry Commission, Gill and the Greenwood Team and everyone who came along to watch and helped to create such a vibrant atmosphere.
May 2013 - Academic Report on Thynghowe
Our academic paper on Thynghowe written by Lynda Mallett, Stuart Reddish, Dr Stuart Brookes, Dr John Baker and Andy Gaunt has been published by the the Thoroton Society. Click on this link for more details.
April 2013 - The 2013 Perambulation Walk
This year we visited features in the northern part of Birklands before completing the walk to Thynghowe. A fine day was enjoyed by the large group of old friends and new participants. We heard the cuckoo but fewer flowers were to be seen due to the late spring.
March 2013 - Volunteer Workshop at Sherwood Pines
There was a fine turnout for our third workshop session in out Heritage Lottery supported project 'Thynghowe and the forgotten heritage of Sherwood'. Stuart Reddish gave a summary of our latest research and then Macolm Hackett from the Greenwood Community Forest chaired an open discussion covering issues relating to the management, protection and promotion of heritage sites within Birklands forest. Thank you to all who contributed and to the Forestry Commission for their hospitality.
February 2013 - Ground Truthing
Our team of hardy volunteers spent two days surveying the trackways of 'Nether Warsop Gate'. We located the features identified by our LiDAR data and recorded the undulations of the trackways and later 'ridge and furrow'. This has helped us to understand connections within this ancient landscape.
November 2012 - Surveying in the Forest
Now that the vegetation on the forest floor is dying down we can go into the woodlands and check out the features that were revealed by our LiDAR survey. We had a great turn out of volunteers for our surveying training workshop on 3rd November. On the first of this wonter's 'ground truthing' sessions in the forest we surveyed a sawpit and checked out the trackways along the line of 'Nether Warsop Gate'. We will continue these tasks in February.
Autumn 2012 - Youngsters in the Woodlands
As part of our Heritage Lottery funded project, the Greenwood Forest Team have been organising events involving four local schools. Youngsters from Samuel Barlow School in Clipstone have spent a day in the woodlands investigating a sawpit, taking photographs and creating artwork. Pupils from Warsop's Birklands School spent a morning in the forest where they worked on a creative writing project with 'The Creeping Toad', otherwise known as Gordon MacLellan. It was good to see these young people enjoying themselves and learning about the past of the forest. We look forward to seeing examples of their work displayed at the Spring Thing event next May.
August 2012 - The Friends of Thynghowe - Award Winners!
At the Greenwood Community Awards we gained the Heritage Team Award for our work investigating the history of Birklands and sharing the stories with our local communities. Thank you to Greenwood for the award and for a most enjoyable evening and also to Amy from the Forestry Commission for nominating us.
Summer 2012 - Spreading the Word
The Friends of Thynghowe's displays have been out and about over the summer, telling the stories of Birklands and recruiting volunteers for our projects. We attended Ollerton St George's Day Celebrations, Making History Happen at Nottingham University and Time Travel Trent Vale at Newark Castle.
Our new shelter is looking rather deserted at Newark Castle. We were really busy most of the time, so this photo had to be taken during a quiet spell!
August 2012 - Planning the Viking Spring Thing
The spectacular re-enactment group Regia Anglorum have been booked to provide the arena displays at our Viking Spring Thing at Sherwood Pines over the weekend of 18th and 19th May 2013. Plans are underway to re-enact events that could have taken place on Thynghowe under the Danelaw with disputes being settled and laws being debated. There will also be a chance to find our about the everyday lives of folk in our area a thousand years ago by talking to members of Regia Anglorum and watching their demonstrations.
Put the dates in your diary - it should be a brilliant weekend!
May 2012 - Our LiDAR survey results arrive
We have just received the data from our LiDAR survey of Birklands from the Environment Agency. Thanks to Simon from English Heritage and Peter from the Forestry Commission for interpreting the raw data. We are now inspecting the images to locate areas of the Forest that need a closer inspection next winter. This sample has the vegetation layer removed to show a rectangular sawpit and trackways.
April 2012 - Our Heritage Lottery funded project is underway
Thanks to everybody who came along to our events this spring and helped get our project off to such a great start. For reports and pictures of the workshop, the perambulation walk and the archive sessions check our page.
March 2012 - Our Heritage Lottery funded project is officially launched
The project launch for 'Thynghowe and the forgotten heritage of Sherwood' on Saturday 3rd March was a great success with lots of people joining us in Mansfield Museum to view our displays and have a chat. Guests included Mansfield's MP Sir Alan Meale, the Mayor of Mansfield Tony Egginton and HLF committee member Joan Bray all of whom were very interested and supportive. It was good to meet supporters old and new and we hope that many of them will be able to join us in our future events. The display will remain in Mansfield Museum until March 28th. We appreciate the support that the museum staff have given to us.
Our MP Sir Alan Meale launching the project with Margaret Woodhead Chair of the Friends of Thynghowe
February 2012 - Our LiDAR Survey has been flown
The aerial survey of the woodlands of Birklands using laser technology has been completed. We are now waiting for the data to be processed before we see the images which should allow us to locate features in the Forest which are obscured by vegetation.
November 2011 - Great News from the Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund have agreed to support our work until Summer 2013.
We plan to commission an aerial LIDAR survey of the woodlands to take place early in 2012 followed by a programme of public events starting around Easter 2012. Everybody is welcome to come along and find out more about Thynghowe and Birklands.
There will be opportunities to join in the interpretation of LIDAR images and photos, research with documents from archives, on-site surveying in the Forest and preparing leaflets, posters and booklets.
The project will culminate in a festival celebrating the Viking heritage of Sherwood in May 2013.
October 2011 - Winter Surveying in Birklands
Between December and early March we hope that the weather will allow us to get out in Birklands to look for features in the woodlands. This is the best time of year for woodland archaeology as the bracken has died down and the low sun combined with lack of leaf cover can reveal humps and hollows that are usually invisible. Get in touch If you are a member of the Friends of Thynghowe and would like to come along. If you are not a member we will be pleased to sign you up for only £5 a year!
July 2011 - Spreading the word about Thynghowe
On July 24th we took our display to the Pageant at the Kings Houses at Kings Clipstone and on the following Saturday we attended the Time Travel Trent Vale event at Newark Castle. It was good to meet some of our members and supporters and there were a lot of opportunities to tell the stories of Birklands and Thynghowe to people who were unaware of the remarkable heritage of the woodland.
June 2011 - Thynghowe's topographic earthwork survey
The report on January's survey of Thynghowe by Andy Gaunt and the Nottinghamshire County Council Community Archaeology team has been published. It gives a fascinating insight into the shape of the hill and its place in the wider landscape. You can view the report online via this link or download a copy from our Resources page. Thanks to Andy for his work and to Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme for funding this project.
May 2011 - Thynghowe's Lottery Bid
We should soon be ready to submit our bid for funding for our research from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We have changed the proposed schedule to take advantage of the best conditions for aerial LIDAR surveying and to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds. If successful, there should be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to take part in surveying, archive research, preparing publications and learning about the management of sensitive sites. The first sessions for volunteers are planned for January 2012. Watch this space and contact us now if you want to be first to hear about these events.
April 2011 - The 2011 Perambulation
We had perfect weather for our annual perambulation walk in Birklands on Saturday 16th April. In addition to a tour of Thynghowe and south-west Birklands we spotted a buzzard (no cuckoo this year) and four butterfly species. It was good to meet new participants and we hope they will be joining us for other activities.
April 2011 - Thynghowe on BBC Radio 4
Radio 4's Open Country programme transmitted on 9th and 14th April was recorded in Birklands. Presenter Richard Uridge spoke to Lynda and Stuart from the Friends of Thynghowe about the story of Thynghowe, to Andy about the Forestry Commission's role in Birklands and to John Baker from Nottingham University about assembly sites and the acoustics of the hill. More details and a chance to listen to the broadcast are on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0103z1x
April 2011 - Time Team in Sherwood
TV's Time Team have recorded a programme at the King's Houses at Kings Clipstone. We hear that they made some significant discoveries and we can't wait for the programme to be broadcast so we can learn more about our part of Sherwood Forest.
March 2011 - Bird Nesting Season
As well as its amazing historical significance the area around Thynghowe is an important habitat for ground-nesting birds. Nightjar and woodlark are amongst the protected species that may be found in the area. To avoid any disturbance we do no surveying work around Thynghowe between March and September. If you visit the area during these months please keep to the paths and keep dogs under close control.
March 2011 - Jerusalem's Well
Warsop Footpaths & Countryside Group have marked the site of Jerusalem's Well with an oak post. This stone-lined well was sited in Birklands alongside the coach road between Warsop and the Great North Road at Tuxford. It was filled in during the 1970s for safety reasons. The well is one of the features recorded in the Research section of this website.
January 2011 - Discover Viking Age Sherwood Forest - Take 2!
The rescheduled topographical survey of the hill of Thynghowe funded by the County Council's 'Local Improvement Scheme' took place between January 18th and 22nd. Archaeologists from Nottinghamshire County Council's Community Archaeology team, and experts from University College London used the latest equipment to survey the site.
Nottinghamshire's Community archaeology team, led by Andy Gaunt, carried out a topographical survey of the hill. Andy and his colleagues used both Total Station and GPS, this will provide a 3D image of the site. Dr Stuart Brookes and Dr John Baker (Nottingham University) from the University College London Assembly Sites Project were doing the geo-phys using magnetometry instruments. They were aided by volunteers from the Friends of Thynghowe group. It is hoped that both sets of results will be put together to see what this mysterious site reveals.
On Saturday the Friends of Thynghowe hosted two public sessions, showing groups around and explaining the history of the site. A display featured photographs, maps and information on all the research the group had undertaken in the last five years.
Stuart Reddish took the groups to many historic features in the forest, telling the story of this part of Sherwood Forest from Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romans, Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Normans right up to modern forestry practices. Archaeologist Andy Gaunt also demonstrated how he used the surveying equipment. This public event was well attended and a number of the participants had stories to tell of features and activities in Birklands that may turn out to be important in the story of this part of Sherwood Forest.
It is hoped that a public presentation, at the end of March, will give the results of both surveys.
Lynda Mallett's photographs of the surveying on Thynghowe can be viewed on www.flickr.com/photos/lyndamallett/
January 2011 - Thynghowe on BBC Radio 5
Thynghowe featured on the archaeology slot on Radio 5's "Up All Night" programme on Tuesday 4th January. Win Scutt covered latest developments as part of his weekly World Archaeology News.
November 2010 - An exciting opportunity to become a Sherwood Forest History Detective
Would you like to learn new skills in interpreting the landscape, surveying on the ground or researching old documents? We are planning a new project involving commissioning an aerial LIDAR survey of Birklands, Data from this survey will need ground truthing involving checking it against features on the ground. We are aiming to offer free training to volunteers who would like to help us with this task or other aspects of our research. Everybody is welcome to take part and it would be a great help to us if anybody who is interested could let us know. Click here to email us. Feedback from the Heritage Lottery Fund suggests that we have a good chance of securing funding and any expressions of interest would greatly help our bid.
November 2010 - Thynghowe on Facebook
We now have a Facebook page - click to check it out.
October 2010 - Too much bracken!
The planned survey of Thynghowe by archaeologists has had to be postponed as there is still too much bracken on the hill. The project has been postponed until later this winter - hopefully the hill will not be under snow by then!
October 2010 - Thynghowe in the media
Publicity for this winter's surveying has seen Thynghowe featured on Richard Spurr's BBC Radio Nottingham afternoon show. Stuart and Linda did an excellent job of promoting our activities as well as sharing their thoughts on weddings, speed humps and tone deafness!
We also gained good coverage in a Yorkshire Post article. Unfortunately they didn't print this picture of Andy that was included in the press release!
October 2010 - Friends of Thynghowe on the Faroe Islands
Representatives of the local history group Friends of Thynghowe, Lynda Mallett and Stuart Reddish, have just returned from the Faeroe Islands. They were attending a trans-national European conference of the THING Project in Torshavn the capital city.
Stuart presented a key note lecture on Thynghowe, a recent discovery of a Viking Assembly site in Birklands, Sherwood Forest.
Stuart, speaking to Radio Faeroe, said “We have a shared culture that covers the whole of northern Europe. A Viking heritage which is important for the communities of Nottinghamshire which once was one of the five shires of the Viking Danelaw. We have to remember the heritage we have in common with the people of the Faeroe Islands."
July 2010 - The Friends of Thynghowe at Newark Castle
On July 31st we attended the Time Travel Trent Vale event organised by The Nottinghamshire Community Archaeology Team. Many of the visitors who came to see the re-enactors and the torturer in the dungeon also visited our stand and we hopefully encouraged more visits to Birklands and raised awareness of the story of Thynghowe.
July 2010 - The Thynghowe Trail on Our Mansfield and Area website
Information about the Thynghowe Trail is now posted on the Warsop section of the Our Mansfield and Area site which records history, memories, photos and comments about the living history of the district. You can access it via www.ourmansfieldandarea.org.uk
April 2010 - Press Release from the THING Project
Delegates fly in just before volcano erupts
Partners in the Northern Periphery Programme THING project (Thing Sites International Networking Group) arrived in Shetland last Wednesday (14th) just before the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull caused havoc to European flights. Delegates from Iceland, Norway, Faroe, Orkney, Highland region and the Isle of Man assembled in Shetland for two days’ meetings, discussions and presentations on thing sites before traveling by boat to Orkney for a further two days of meetings, talks and site visits. Things are the assembly sites spread across Northern Europe as a result of our shared Viking heritage.
Whilst in Shetland delegates listened to Brian Smith’s stimulating public lecture on the myths and realities surrounding Shetland’s ting sites and visited Ting Holm at Tingwall, the site of Shetland’s law ting until 1600. Orkney tours incorporated the meeting sites at Tingwall, St Magnus Cathedral and Dingieshowe. Unfortunately the travel disruptions meant three speakers were unable to join the group in Orkney, but two of them sent electronic copies of their presentations. A visitor from Nottingham ably stepped into the breach delivering an inspiring presentation on Thynghowe - a newly discovered thing site deep within Sherwood Forest.
Some delegates faced an epic journey home – six Norwegians hope to arrive home on Friday, after a marathon journey through Scotland, England, Holland and Denmark, involving 3 ferry trips and a series of bus, rail and road links. The next partner meeting will be held in Faroe in early October.
April 2010 - The 2010 Perambulation
This year's walk commemorating the 1816 Perambulation of the Lordship of Warsop was held on Saturday 24th April. This time we started from the Warsop Windmill end of the Thynghowe Trail and the walk to Thynghowe took in boundary stones, the sites of the Duke of Portland's Russian Hut and of the Shambles Oak. We also featured stories of the 19th century management of Birklands and plenty of quotes from the 1816 document.
We had superb weather and we heard a cuckoo as we approached Thynghowe - this has now become a tradition of this event! Discoveries on the walk included a stretch of cobbled trackway and a piece of stone that may have been part of a doorstep of the Russian Hut.
Keeping a thousand year old tradition alive - a debate on the summit of Thynghowe involving the participants of this year's perambulation!
April 2010 - Funding for Thynghowe Surveying
We have received the excellent news that our bid for funding from the Nottinghamshire County Council Local Improvement Scheme has been approved. This will allow the County Archaeologists to perform a full topographical survey of the hill of Thynghowe and also of some of the surrounding area. This will provide a three dimensional image that will be invaluable in interpreting the site. The surveying should take place this autumn and our supporters and interested members of the public will be welcome to come along and see what the survey reveals. Watch this space!
April 2010 - Friends of Thynghowe at the Northern Periphery Programme THING project
Stuart and Lynda from the Friends of Thynghowe attended the Thing Sites International Networking Group conference from 15th to 18th April. Delegates spent their first two days in Shetland and the other two in Orkney, allowing them to compare things in both island groups.
Last June the project secured funding to connect and interpret a network of thing sites throughout the Viking world. With partners in Shetland, Orkney, Norway, Iceland, Faroe, Highland Scotland and the Isle of Man, the three-year project aims to exchange knowledge, exploit opportunities and develop sustainable management and business development at the thing sites that spread across north-west Europe as a result of the Viking diaspora and Norse settlements. One major aspect of the project is to explore the possibility of a trans-national World Heritage nomination, expanding on Iceland’s existing World Heritage Site- Thingvellir.
Although Thynghowe falls outside the region eligible for funding under this project, we made a considerable impact when Stuart was asked to replace a speaker who was unable to attend due to the disruption to flights caused by volcanic ash. His presentation impressed the audience that included academics and government representatives with the remarkable quality of the site of Thynghowe and also the work of the Friends of Thynghowe in researching and documenting the area. Stuart and Lynda are planning to attend the next meeting on the Faroe Islands later this year. The tremendous job they have done in promoting Thynghowe should lead to increased international interest and help us with the interpretation of our site.
The Friends of Thynghowe banner (provided by Greenwood Community Forest) on display at the entrance to Shetland Museum
March 2010 - The Friends of Greenwood Community Forum visit Birklands
On March 1st we hosted a meeting of the Friends of Greenwood Community Forum which was followed by a walk around the southern part of Birklands. Seventeen members of the Forum and the Friends of Thynghowe looked at boundary stones, discussed the evolving management of the Forest from Norman times and visited the sites of the Russian Hut and St Edwin's Chantry. We enjoyed this opportunity to share the stories of the past of Birklands and several of our guests promised to return soon.
February 2010 - The missing Budby stone
Our last surveying session of winter 2009-10 resulted in a particularly pleasing find. We located the stone mentioned in the 1816 Perambulation document which we feared had been removed. It appears to be similar to the Budby Forest stone so it could have been a marker on an ancient boundary. We also recorded information about the limes marking the Warsop/Budby boundary, investigated old trackways and measured a World War II ammunition store. You see more details in our Research table.
November 2009 - Surveying in Birklands
On November 11th six members of the Friends of Thynghowe ventured into Birklands to collect more information about some of the features we had previously located. We recorded data about trees, ancient trackways, earthworks, a culvert and an ancient stone. There was much debate about alternative interpretations and speculation over the nature and origins of some of these features. The updated information and images are now included in our Research section. We hope to organise more of these sessions and you are welcome to join us. This image shows some the cones found beneath the collection of conifers planted by the Duke of Portland alongside Hanger Hill Drive.
October 2009 - Yet Another Thing
We have recently become aware of another Thing in England. It is located at Cross Hill on the Barnston Road at Thingwall near Irby on the Wirral, overlooking the river Dee estuary (grid reference SJ2784). Parts of the Wirral were settled by Scandinavian Vikings who were expelled from Dublin in 902AD and Thingwall was a place where elders met to discuss the issues of the day.
July 2009 - More Thyngs, Tings and Things
Our research into similar Norse meeting sites to Thynghowe has revealed a Ting on National Trust land near Little Langdale in the Lake District.
A web search for more details about the Thing at Dingwall near Invernesss revealed their council’s links with the proposed Thing Sites Network involving similar sites in Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Shetland, Orkneys, Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Man. Hopefully our initial contacts with this network will result in Thynghowe’s involvement in this project.
A list of some UK Thing sites is in the Thynghowe Research section of this site.
May 2009 - The Greendale Oak Lives!
The Greendale Oak came to fame in 1724 when the first Duke of Portland wagered with the Earl of Oxford that he could drive a horse and carriage through a tree. The Greendale Oak was chosen, as it was a giant of a tree. After the tree had been mutilated by his woodsmen a small carriage could pass through an archway cut into the trunk and the Duke won his wager. Surprisingly, the tree survived a further couple of hundred years.
However, it still lives on through its descendants! We have discovered from the Welbeck Estate planting records that a compartment in Birkland Forest was planted with acorns from the Greendale Oak in 1833. Our investigations have found that there are indeed oak trees of the appropriate age growing in that area.
April 2009 - The Thynghowe Trail is officially open!
On Saturday 25 April the three mile waymarked Thynghowe Trail was opened by the Sheriff of Nottingham, Councilor Brian Grocock. Following the official opening our annual walk along the boundary of the Lordship of Warsop took place with members of the Friends of Thynghowe joined by our supporters. Stuart gave his usual illuminating explanations of features along the route and this year he included some discoveries that he has not previously mentioned. Once again the cuckoo put in a vocal appearance, for many of us it was for the first time he have heard it this year.
September 2008 - Waymarking the Thynghowe Trail
Posts identifying 17 points of historical interest have been installed along the Thynghowe Trail by volunteers from the Friends of Thynghowe and Warsop Footpaths & Countryside Group. The posts were donated by the Forestry Commission and prepared by Graham from the Friends of Thynghowe. The posts are already creating interest amongst local walkers and several copies of our trail leaflet have been distributed ahead of the official launch.
Summer 2008 - Thynghowe on the National Monuments Record
Following English Heritage's addition of Thynghowe to the NMR, the record now appears online on the Pastscape website. You can check it out on www.pastscape.org
Spring 2008 - Thynghowe in the News
Thynghowe has been in the news during the past few weeks with articles in the local press, a feature on Radio Nottingham and references online on 24hourmuseum and Wikipedia. The Forestry Commission press release that created much of the interest is quoted here-
RETURN OF THE 'THYNG'!
Local people are helping to shed light on a rare archaeological find amidst the gnarled old oaks of the Birklands in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.
The Forestry Commission and the Friends of Thynghowe are bidding to unravel the secrets of an ancient meeting place - called Thynghowe - dating back to at least Viking times.
Three years ago the mound-like feature was rediscovered by history lover and former teacher Lynda Mallett, along with husband Stuart Reddish and John Wood, all from Rainworth, using an original "perambulation" document dated to 1816.
Miraculously, when they visited the spot they found that the hill still exists, along with historic boundary stones. Their research has also suggested that it may once have marked the boundary between the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria.
After reporting the intriguing find to local history society members in Clipstone, Warsop and Edwinstowe, a new group was formed to work with forest chiefs to investigate the site's significant history and encourage wider community appreciation and involvement.
Andrew Norman, Ranger with the Forestry Commission, said: " Our forests in Nottinghamshire contain many historic sites, but it's down to the efforts of local people that Thynghowe has re-emerged from the shadows. It's our policy to protect the site and work with the community to ensure its continued survival."
Al Oswald, an Archaeological Investigator with English Heritage, recently inspected the site and believes it is a national rarity. He explained:" I was very surprised by this discovery. The site had vanished from modern maps and was essentially lost to history until local people made their discoveries. There are only a handful of such sites surviving in the British Isles in places like Orkney and the Lake District. Basically, Thynghowe was a place where people came to resolve disputes and settle issues – quite literally where people came to talk about things. It's a Norse word, although it's quite possible the site is much older still, perhaps even Bronze Age. The word howe often indicates a prehistoric burial mound. We do know that it's been an important place for centuries and even today there are three parish boundary markers on top of the mound. This is an exceptional survivor and needs further study."
Lynda Mallett, who with her husband owns 17 acres of woodland nearby in Sherwood Forest, added: " We have also discovered a 1609 map of the Birklands showing routes to Thynghowe, in addition to the 1816 perambulation document describing the walk around the Lordship of Warsop. Today it is known as Hanger Hill, but our research has shown it really is a window into the past of Sherwood Forest. There is probably much more to be discovered. We are working with the Forestry Commission to look at options for the site's management and protection and to make it more widely known."
26 April 2008 - Friends of Thynghowe and the Annual Perambulation
A large group set out from Budby Pumping Station and headed into Sherwood Forest on a warm Spring morning.
The group consisted of members of the Friends of Thynghowe and members of the public. The walk, this year advertised by the Forestry Commission, attracted people who were keen to learn about the history and heritage of Birklands. The Friends of Thynghowe have produced a heritage trail leaflet and the route followed that trail.
We were shown how to look at the landscape in woodland and see the ‘hidden’ history. Stuart Reddish and Lynda Mallett, landscape historians, led the walk. We discovered hollow ways and trackways – ancient routes through the forest. Very old hawthorn hedgerows hidden in the pine plantation hinted of old tracks and field systems.
We looked at bumps and hollows that could have been charcoal pits or potash pits – showing how the woodland was used and managed in long gone days.
As we stopped to look at a wood bank edging the forest from a meadow, a cuckoo in full throat flew across a clearing – what a celebration of spring! As we moved up the long slow pull of Hanger Hill – removing outer garments as it got warmer – we were shown evidence of ridge and furrow showing that before the trees people had farmed this land.
Thynghowe itself became evident as we reached the top of Lady Anne’s Ride. It was a Saxon Moot, a Danelaw ‘Thyng’ – it was used by the Romans who had a Romano/British settlement close by. Powerful sites like this often have been used going back through the mists of time. Who knows how long this site has been important to the people living in the area.
As we stood looking down the hill and across the landscape imagining who had stood on this hill a buzzard sailed overhead circling around the treetops.
We walked back through the forest emerging from the trail to look over an area of protected heathland – this is what the old Sherwood Forest would have looked like open wood pasture with copses of trees, heather lings, and lovely old mature oaks.
Some of Sherwood Forest’s history had been revealed – ‘forest stones’ showing the important boundaries between lordships and parishes (and possibly even kingdoms); old coppiced trees showing how the woodland had been worked for hundreds of years; hollow ways that had been worn by feet and carts over a millennia; and looking like a circular iron age hut was a machine gun post from the second world war!
© Lynda Mallett April 2008 Friends of Thynghowe
19 April 2008 - Friends of Thynghowe and Notts Wildlife Trust
On Saturday 19 April the Friends of Thynghowe gave some members of Notts Wildlife Trust a guided walk along part of the ancient boundary in Birklands, Sherwood Forest. Friends of Thynghowe are a group of local people who have rediscovered some of the history of this part of Sherwood Forest. They are part of the Woodland Champions Project, and last year, as part of the project, received training in landscape investigation in ancient woodland (see link below for information of obtaining the training manual).
This part of the forest is mainly pine plantation and not immediately thought of as ‘historic’. There are many layers in the landscape, some can be seen as ‘humps and bumps’ – features to show what this area had once been. From the trees we can see how the forest was managed, coppiced woodland, charcoal burning. Some of the history we only know about through archives and documents. This was how we came to recognise Thynghowe.
Two local people acquired an 1816 document of the Perambulation of the Lordship of Warsop. With this document they tracked through the forest looking for features mentioned in the document, slowly discovering the route of this old boundary perambulation, and many of the features mentioned on it. Including boundary stones, an ancient oak, two Forest stones, and a very special meeting place, called Thynghowe. This special meeting place is a hill, which in Danish/Viking times was called a Thynghowe. It was probably known to the Romans who had a Romano British settlement close by; to the Saxons who would have used it as a ‘moot’; and certainly to the Normans when they established the great deer park nearby in Kings Clipstone.
We finished the walk in a woodland owned by two members of the Friends of Thynghowe, the boundary perambulation went through this wood and mentions large ditches. These ditches are now known as ‘deer leaps’ part of the way that they captured the wild deer from the forest to put into the ‘paled’ (fenced) deer park for the King and his Barons to hunt.
The weather was rather cold but the walk and talk very interesting–the two groups are planning some future projects so as to enhance and protect both the history, and the habitat and wildlife of the area.
© Lynda Mallett April 2008
16 September 2007 - Launch of the Heritage Woodland Manual
Several members of The Friends of Thynghowe attended the launch of the Woodland Heritage Manual at Sheffield. We have been involved in developing this manual as part of the Woodland Heritage Champions project. A number of authors have contributed to the manual and case studies have been provided by the volunteers to highlight some of the work they have carried out.
The manual is intended to establish a context for evaluation and assessment of woodlands and wooded landscapes across England, enabling people to understand, value and care for their local heritage. Without understanding ancient woodlands they are at risk of damage and neglect.
- Puts woodlands in their landscape setting.
- Gives guidance on how to identify working and veteran trees in woodland, parkland and former woodland sites; building on the work of the ' Ancient Tree Hunt' project.
- Looks at botanical and other species indicators and typologies.
- Includes information about the underlying geology, sediments and soils.
- Provides information on ecological and archaeological survey methods and the interpretation of results.
- Cover different areas within England.
- Provides guidance for management and advice on carrying out further surveys and important contact information.
hopes to inspire woodland enthusiasts to research and survey their local wood and to uncover its history.