Introducing Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

On Aug 26th 1981, 36 women started their 110 mile walk from Cardiff to RAF Greenham Common in protest against the Americans holding Cruise missiles on common land.

Over the next 19 years Greenham Common became home to thousands of women who believed they could create change and leave the world a better place.

What did the Greenham Women want?

Some women visited the camp for a day or a night, some stayed for a weekend of a week and some stayed for months and years. The women who visited were fearful for their children and future children but hopeful that they could make a difference.

They were fighting for:

  • The removal of nuclear cruise missiles
  • The return of the land to common ground
  • Gender equality

How did the Greenham Women protest?

Women from all backgrounds and all over the world braved every weather to protest peacefully and creatively. In a time before the internet and mobile phones, Greenham women and their supporters organised numerous large scale demonstrations like “Embrace the Base” in 1982, where 30,000 women held hands around the 9 mile perimeter fence.

Non Violent Direct Action or NVDA was at the heart of the Greenham Common protests which included an agreement that property but not people could be harmed. The protests were largely women only spaces and they used their position as mothers to empower them to take action for their children’s future.

The men who supported the women on large action days often supported them by enabling them to take action. They were not directly part of the protest, rather supporting in the background for example making sandwiches and bringing food and looking after the children. Men were also able to support the work of Cruise Watch.

Women used humour, song, art, poetry, discussion and disruption in their protests.

An Introduction to Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

Explore the impact tree to discover interview clips, animations, pictures, lesson plans and activity ideas to help you uncover more about the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.

What were the camps like? What types of actions did the women take? What role did creativity have at the camp?

Animation, VideoGreenham Women on the Fence
This animation provides an introduction into Embrace the Base. Hear what it is was like to be there from the Greenham Women who held hands to embrace the base.
VideoJ&C at Greenham
This is a video clip from a 1980s children’s news programme which reported on Greenham Common at the time. What do you think of the coverage? What does it tell...
Animation, VideoGrowing up at Greenham
This short animation gives an insight into what it was like at the camp through the eyes of a child.
ActivityActions Large and Small
Over its 19 years, tens of thousands of women came to Greenham Common. Some stayed for a weekend, weeks or months whilst others came for the day to join some...
Animation, VideoGreenham Women Come Together
Warning: Some strong language and stories of police violence.
This animation provides a brief introduction to Greenham Common Peace Camps, why they started and what they were like as well as the clashes with the police.
VideoPeggy Seeger “Carry Greenham Home”
Listen to Greenham Woman Peggy Seeger as she shares her song ‘Carry Greenham Home’ to celebrate the the entry into force of the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear...
AudioPeggy Seeger Oral Testimony Clip
Peggy is a folk singer, songwriter and activist who wrote Carry Greenham Home. Along with other musicians, she sang to the march that was coming through from Wales to Greenham...
VideoCarry Greenham Home – Embrace the Base Report
In this clip from Beeban Kidron and Amanda Richardson’s fly on the wall documentary from their time at Greenham Common Peace Camp you can see the Greenham Women reading out...

The Creative Camp

Song, poetry and banner making were all part of daily life at the camp. Songs helped keep women’s spirits up, poetry helped them to process their experiences and a rich language of symbols images helped them to create a colourful, positive and empowering identity for the camp.

Find out more about the role creativity had to play at the camp as well as ways you can explore craftivism and creativity to communicate your own message.

The Creative Camp

Camp Life

The Greenham Common Peace Camp was the largest women’s led movement since suffrage. The camp lasted for 19 years through harsh winters and tough conditions. Sometimes the space was held by a few women, at other times thousands would turn up for large actions. Find out more about what day to day life at the camp was like here.

Camp Life
Discover Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

We’re inviting schools to join us to help us explore the legacy of the Greenham Common Peace Camp and the impact it’s had on your community. Are there Greenham Women living in your local area? What skills can you learn from Greenham Women? What causes are important to your community today and what can you learn from Greenham to help you make a difference?

You can find out more about our Common Ground Schools project here for primary, secondary and otherwise educated groups.

Common Ground Schools Project