Detailed project description

The Forest Town Nature Conservation Group

  • The Forest Town Nature Conservation Group (Charity No 1157957) owns and manages Spa Ponds Nature Reserve in Forest Town, Mansfield.
  • The Forest Town Nature Conservation Group (FTNCG) works to improve nature conservation sites within and around Forest Town, including Spa Ponds; we hold regular meetings and work sessions, and are always looking for new volunteers.

The Heritage Lottery Fund

  • Heritage Lottery Foundation - Lottery FundedThe Spa Ponds Heritage Project (‘Celebrating 700 years of history’) is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Sharing Heritage is for any not-for-profit group wanting to explore their community’s heritage. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, Sharing Heritage grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are now available to groups who want to discover their local heritage. Projects can cover a wide spectrum of subject matter from exploring local archaeology and a community’s cultures and traditions to identifying and recording local wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment to managing and training volunteers, and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past.
  • Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

Project Rationale

  • Spa Ponds Nature Reserve has some fascinating history, and to celebrate its 700th anniversary we have set up this project to find out more about the use of the site from medieval times to present day, and celebrate its heritage and to work together to produce a plan to manage the site’s heritage based on our research and sense of place.

Project Purposes

  • Provide archaeological and historical research training for volunteers
  • Research the historic context of Spa Ponds, including carrying out oral history interviews with at least 20 members of the local community
  • Provide opportunities for wider community engagement
  • Create a project website and portable display materials
  • Produce a community-led Heritage Management Plan

The Project Management Group

  • A photograph of SPHP management team volunteers sitting around a table
    SPHP Project Management Group meeting in November 2016. Photo taken by Shlomo Dowen and released under the CC BY-NC 3.0 license.
    We describe our project as being “community-led”, and one of the ways we are doing this is by forming a Project Management Group made up of members of the community who have chosen to participate in the project.
  • A team of about 10 volunteers who will work together to ensure that the project benefits participants, the wider community and Spa Ponds’ heritage. Project Management Group members will receive extra training and mentoring support from MBArchaeology’s Matt Beresford.
  • The team will contribute time and energy to helping ensure that the project succeeds in benefiting participants, the wider community and Spa Ponds’ heritage”. However, responsibility for delivering project outputs promised to the Heritage Lottery Fund rests with FTNCG Trustees and not with the Project Management Group.

A bit more about the project

  • The Spa Ponds Heritage Project is about involving the community in the research and training necessary to produce a community-led Heritage Management Plan for the Spa Ponds Nature Reserve.
  • Together we will research and celebrate the history of Spa Ponds Nature Reserve, known locally as ‘Gara Ponds’.
Map of Spa Ponds Nature Reserve (present day)
  • Spa Ponds is located off Clipstone Drive near Garibaldi Wood in Forest Town, Mansfield.
  • FTNCG is the volunteer-run charity who bought Spa Ponds in 2014 with help from the community of Forest Town.
  • The research undertaken as part of this project will help us learn about the site’s historic boundaries, enabling us to better understand Spa Ponds’ landscape context, feeding into the formulation of a plan for the protection, enhancement and promotion of the site’s heritage.
  • Our research findings will be shared with the local community and those interested in Sherwood Forest’s natural and social heritage.
  • Participants will enjoy learning about heritage, deepening their knowledge and understanding of Spa Ponds, gaining heritage management skills, and being given opportunities to apply their learning.
  • As a direct result of this project, Spa Ponds’ heritage will be better understood and therefore better managed in the long-term. In addition to the Heritage Management Plan, the project’s displays and digital outputs will also provide improved ways to make sense of, and to value, Spa Ponds’ heritage.
  • The project’s research and oral history elements will ensure Spa Ponds’ previously unknown or inaccessible heritage is made available to the public, in displays and online.
  • Celebrating 700 years of our site’s history will contribute to a positive community narrative and to opportunities for different parts of the community to come together to celebrate the past and plan for the future. This will help strengthen our sense of place and support the literally ‘shared ownership’ of this special site.

Note regarding photography and other digital output

Producing, sharing and contextualising digital output are important aspects of the project. Digital output will be free of charge, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 or newer. When members of the public take photos, we will encourage them to donate their photos in CC BY-NC license to form part of the project’s legacy.