The Heywood Society was founded in 1976 by the late Lord Gretton and the late Robin Butterell. Full UK membership of the Society is restricted to owners, operators or builders of miniature railways, or authors on the subject.

Members of the Society are able to participate in meetings each May and October, based in differing parts of the UK. Each weekend features visits to miniature railways (including some at private locations) and includes a formal dinner. The Society also produces its own Journal, published to coincide with the meetings – copies of this are available to non members by mail order subscription.

As from 2003 the Society has been constituted as a company limited by guarantee, The Heywood Society Limited, company no 4561817.