Greenham common: The Common
Greenham Common is now a nature reserve that everyone can enjoy…. but it hasn’t always looked like it does today.
In 1941, the land was acquired for a military airfield and the runways were built in early 1942 with one main and two secondary runways. Accommodation for about 2,400 personnel was built off the eastern end of the airfield.
During World War II it was used by the United States Army Air Force and the Royal Air Force, and during the Cold War by the United States Air Force for Strategic Air Command bombers and later for BGM-109G Cruise missiles.
From 1981 women's peace camps were established in protest at the deployment of the cruise missiles. They came to be known as "The Greenham Women" or "peace women", and their 19-year protest drew worldwide media and public attention, often by cutting through the fences.
The runways and buildings remained on the site until 1995, when the work began to restore the common back to heathland. It took nearly 5 years to remove all the concrete in the runways and to restore the common.