Settlers of the Nene – Telling Their Stories

When we think about the past there’s a tendency to imagine it in neat little compartments – ‘the Iron Age’, ‘the Romans’, ‘the Saxons’ etc. In reality of course the people living then would not have recognised themselves from these descriptions, especially as one era blended into another.

At Rockingham Forest Trust we are starting an exciting new heritage project which looks behind the stereotypes to consider settlement in the Nene Valley across 5,000 years. We expect to find many similarities – in people’s daily concerns and why they chose to settle in an area, what they ate and wore – but also many differences. How did their cultural beliefs shape the way they lived? Was the weather a dominating factor, causing flooding or even famine, and are there things we could learn about sustainability? We may even uncover some ‘horrible histories’ of our own!

By taking themes such as cooking and building techniques through time we hope to provide a fascinating glimpse into how much (and perhaps how little) has changed. Over the course of three years the ‘Settlers of the Nene Valley’ project will be working with local communities and schools to uncover the past on their doorstep through a series of activities and events. From building an historic ancestral barn, to cookery ‘Roman style’ there will be plenty of ways for people to get involved, so watch this space! …….

Rockingham Forest Trust is one eleven organisations in the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme that have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for activities which explore the Nene Valley’s people, heritage and identity. Keep up to date by visiting our ‘Settlers of the Nene Valley’ Facebook page. If you would like to volunteer please get in touch on 01933 625522 or email

~Alyson & Becky