Ever since Warley Woods Community Trust began managing Warley Woods in 2004, people have been coming into the Trust’s office sharing their memories. It became clear that people wanted to share them and that these fascinating stories should be recorded for others to hear. This was the impetus behind planning this oral history project and we were keen to ensure we recorded as many memories as we could.

The Community Trust has been able to undertake this project thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their grant provided funding for training, equipment and professional support with sound editing, video production and transcribing.

Beginning in February 2012 with the first training course for interviewers, our volunteers have been out and about around the area responding to people who offered stories for our collection. Thirty-nine people have shared the part that Warley Woods has played in their lives and their stories span from the 1920s to the present day.

A book of these stories has been published by Warley Woods Community Trust which is available at the shop at The Pavilion, Lightwoods Hill. We think it does paint a fabulous picture of experiences and detail which ordinary history books could never tell.

Part of this project involved the students of two local schools: Abbey Junior School and St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School. In spring and summer 2013 Julia Letts of the Oral History Society visited the schools over a number of weeks, training the students in how to be good interviewers. The students then interviewed seven local residents about their memories of Warley Woods on camera, filmed by a professional film company, Scraggy Dog. 

The book and DVD can be bought at The Shop at the Pavilion or in our online shop. The book includes a CD with some of the stories we recorded.