Forestry Commission logo

Aerial survey probes Viking mound's secrets

This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
Forestry Commission Ranger Andrew Norman on top of Thynghowe, the subject a new aerial survey

An eye in the sky could help local history detectives unpick the mysteries of an ancient monument.

The Friends of Thynghowe, working with the Forestry Commission, have organised an aerial survey of a Viking site called Thynghowe in the historic Birklands area of Sherwood Forest, near Mansfield, Notts.

The amazing mound came to light five years ago through the work of local historians and is one of only a handful of such sites to survive anywhere in the British Isles. It was used as a meeting spot where Viking warrior farmers gathered to discuss 'things', hence the name.

Lynda Mallet, from the Friends of Thynghowe, who made the discovery with husband Stuart Reddish and John Wood, all from Rainworth, said:

"The aircraft used LIDAR - a kind of laser radar - to look below the trees and record features on the ground.  We hope this will tell us a lot more about the site's enigmatic past.  The imagery will throw up lots of potential clues and we want more local people to join us in unravelling the story. This is history in the making."

The survey was made possible after the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a £50,000 grant to support a community research initiative on Thynghowe.  The project will be launched at Mansfield Museum on Saturday 3 March, 11.30am when people can come along to chat with volunteers and view photographs, maps and documents.  Displays run until 28 March. 

Andrew Norman, from the Forestry Commission, added:

“Thynghowe has lots more secrets to yield and could emerge has an even more important discovery."

Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said:

“This is a fascinating site and this project has the potential to open up our understanding of the history of Sherwood Forest. By giving volunteers from across the community the opportunity to get involved in researching and interpreting the results of the survey, more people will have the chance to learn about and explore the heritage of their local area."

Notes to Editor

  1. Thynghowe may date back further than the Dark Ages as the term ‘howe’ is often indicates a prehistoric burial place.  The mound – first noticed on 19th century maps and then identified in the landscape – has been put on English Heritage’s National Monument Record.  More details at

  2. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  To find out more got to

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0750 8010411.