Runnymede Explored project: supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

A woman and small child inspecting The Jurors at Runnymede

It is 804 years since feudal barons forced King John to seal Magna Carta at Runnymede, on the banks of the Thames, near Windsor. To this day, Magna Carta remains one of the most important documents in global history. Now, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project can move ahead with plans to help visitors discover more about this special place and enjoy it for recreation, learning and volunteering.

Inscription on the ceiling of the American Bar Association memorial at Runnymede, which is considered to be the birthplace of modern democracy.
The inscription on the ceiling of the American Bar Association memorial at Runnymede
Inscription on the ceiling of the American Bar Association memorial at Runnymede, which is considered to be the birthplace of modern democracy.

Our plans at Runnymede

Having received funding of £1.6 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project plans to unify two sites of international significance, Runnymede and adjacent Ankerwycke, with improved pathways and interpretation, and a new ferry crossing across the River Thames. The project will enable visitors to travel more easily between the two sites and get a better understanding of their combined importance: Runnymede’s significance as the site of the sealing of Magna Carta, and Ankerwycke, home to Benedictine priory ruins and the Ankerwycke yew, the National Trust’s oldest tree at 2,500 years old.

Plans also include new trails and an upgraded tow path along the River Thames to encourage access to the public artworks at the site: The Jurors, created by Hew Locke and Writ in Water created by Mark Wallinger, the monuments and memorials at Runnymede and to new interpretation around the themes of liberty, people and commemoration.

" There are few places in the UK that rival Runnymede in terms of its profound influence on our national heritage.  Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, these thoughtful and sensitive improvements will enhance this special place for everyone to enjoy."
- Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund
The People's Pageant Runnymede

The People's Pageant  

On 16 June 2019, the meadows of Runnymede set the stage for The People’s Pageant, a performance created by artist Estella Castle, inspired by the 1934 Runnymede Pageant.

Community connections

The project will establish new opportunities for volunteering and for schools and local communities to get involved, along with a range of activities including an archaeology project.  There are wider plans to work collaboratively with stakeholders including Surrey County Council and Runnymede Borough Council, the Colne Valley Regional Park Authority, and local community groups to deliver a profound change in how people experience Runnymede.

Latest updates

11 Jul 19

Ferry jetty planning application

Planning applications made to Runnymede Borough Council and Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for accessible ferry jetties at Runnymede and Ankerwycke.

Runnymede ferry jetty

21 Jun 19

Dragonfly training for volunteers

The first dragonfly training session was held for volunteers and included a visit to Langham Ponds to identify and photograph them. Our trained volunteers will be able to carry out surveying at Runnymede and Ankerwycke, contributing not only to our knowledge of land and nature here, but feeding into vital national surveying.

Dragonfly training at Runnymede

16 Jun 19

The People's Pageant

Runnymede’s landscape set the stage for The People's Pageant, a performance of local actors and musicians re-visioning the 1934 Runnymede Pageant, created by artist Estella Castle. Working with local museums, universities, community groups and individuals, Estella uncovered stories associated with the history of Runnymede and the staging of the 1934 Pageant, and created a series of tableaux performed by the Magna Carta Memorial.

The People's Pageant Runnymede