About the book

“Walking on Greenham Common has become a different experience after reading The Common Good.  It pulls together the layers of activities and events that have occurred on the Common including those that have had National and International importance and those that may have been forgotten. The book examines the early history of the Common, which is as fascinating as more recent events for which the Common is well known. 

"The book is well illustrated throughout with fantastic photographs including some from the museum’s collection, which bring the story to life.”

Ruth Howard,
Curator, West Berkshire Museum


"Penny Stokes has written several excellent local histories for topics and places in West Berkshire – with this new book she takes on Greenham Common.  This is an iconic location but there are many strands to its history which are unpicked in the 20 chapters of The Common Good, the title being a reference to the Greenham Trust, celebrating a 20 year anniversary this year.  It is beautifully illustrated with many double page spreads of photographs, drawings and maps but also thoroughly researched.  The book will be of interest to many people who think they know something of Greenham Common, and to those who have yet to discover the area."

Sarah Orr
Acting Archaeological Officer/ Historic Environment Record Office

To many people the words “Greenham Common” conjure up an image of peace women in conflict with the police, but the common has had a much longer and more varied history,
 surviving several military occupations since the English Civil War.

This book describes these and many other dramas which have happened here: from Redcoat musters to refugee housing, golf to glider warfare, furze-gathering to filming, bare-knuckle prize-fighting to bomb storage. Now restored as Berkshire’s largest heathland and returned to public ownership, Greenham Common has come full circle, and its story is told here in entertaining detail, with stories, maps, pictures and personalities from five centuries.


Why we’ve decided to publish this book

2017 marks 20 years of ever-expanding achievement for Greenham Trust, putting the legacy of Greenham and Crookham commons’ military past to profoundly practical and beneficial use. There can be few residents of West Berkshire and North Hampshire who have not in some way enjoyed the fruits of the Trust’s work at some time, and they can also rejoice in the abundant pleasures of the restored commons.  Previously, Greenham Common’s history has been written about only in the context of specific modern periods. The Common Good: the Story of Greenham Common is the first historical overview to span the common’s early social history, all its military phases, and its future as a restored environmental treasure.


Working with Penny

Penelope Stokes has lived in West Berkshire for several decades, writing local and social history. Find out more about Penny here.