Procession to DNPA HQ

150 PEOPLE MARCH IN SUPPORT OF STEWARD COMMUNITY WOODLAND

Arrival at DNPA HQ - Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 - Photo - David Pearson
Arrival at DNPA HQ – Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 – Photo – David Pearson

On 3rd April, 150 people (including lots of children & families) took part in our colourful Procession to the National Park HQ near Bovey Tracey where we delivered our petition of nearly 5,500 signatures calling on the Park to continue to allow us to live at Steward Wood and run this successful and much loved project. Also, the author of the recently published book ‘Settlements’, David Spero, presented a copy to the Park.

Procession with willow deer and banner - Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 - Photo - David Pearson
Procession with willow deer and banner – Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 – Photo – David Pearson

This beautiful book of photographs documents various low impact settlements in the UK including Steward Community Woodland (davidspero.co.uk).

Procession with willow deer and banner - Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 - Photo - David Pearson
Procession with willow deer and banner – Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 – Photo – David Pearson

The weather for the Procession was ideal, sunny & warm, and it was lead by a banner reading ‘Save Steward Wood’ with another saying ‘Support Low Impact Homes’. There was a willow sculpture of a Leaping Deer carried on two people’s shoulders along with lots of willow butterflies. Although we were taking a serious message to the Park, there was a carnival atmosphere, which created a sense of celebration, community and solidarity. This is, after all, what we wish to see more of in this world.

Handing over the Petition signed by over 5300 people - Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 - Photo - David Pearson
Handing over the Petition signed by over 5300 people – Steward Wood March 3 April 2017 – Photo – David Pearson

Outside the Park HQ, a delegation of us met with James McInnes, Chairman of the Development Management Committee, who received the petition and the book ‘Settlements’ while our supporters watched and the media took photographs. We then had a picnic in the grounds with storytelling and singing.

We are now seeking to negotiate with the National Park to see where we can move forward at this time. We’d like to find a win-win solution which both the Authority and ourselves can be happy with.

We’ve let go of the project as formulated for the 2016 Public Inquiry, and are in the process of downsizing and reconfiguring the project. We now have a window of opportunity before the Enforcement Notices take effect in December.

www.stewardwood.org
facebook.com/StewardCommunityWoodland

Sunday’s perk: A View of the Woods

Today’s perk is a bit special. We’d love to honour your major contribution to our campaign with a bench or a seat in the woods, and invite you to come and enjoy the view. We are constantly amazed by the beauty around us in this woodland home – for your contribution, we’ll find a special spot and put up a seat that’s in keeping with the surroundings and consistent with our low-impact philosophy (although some of us prefer to call it Positive Impact – improving the environment around us, rather than degrading it.)

Here are some shots of the woods to whet your appetite. Click on any of them to go to the perk on the crowdfunding page.


vlcsnap-2016-02-23-11h07m37s038 bluebells in the woods snowdrops at SCW Continue reading “Sunday’s perk: A View of the Woods”

It looks like we’re going to reach our target! What next?

So, it looks like we’ll reach our £38,000 target in the next few minutes! Words are really not enough to convey how mind-blowing and exciting this is, but there are still 30 days of this crowdfunder to go, and a lot longer of the campaign to keep our community and our homes. The question everybody is asking is:

What happens if you raise more than £38,000!

So.

There are a whole host of projects that have been planned for a long time, that have been waiting for funds in order to begin them. Chief among these is the MoreFood project… Below are some artists impressions

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MoreFood – A local food growing and demonstration garden project

We’ll be writing more about this in the days to come, along with our continuing series of posts about life in the woods and the perks available via the crowdfunder.

In brief, the aims of the project, first envisaged in 2011 are:

To contribute to a long-term increase in local small-scale food production that is

  • self-sustaining
  • cost-effective
  • appropriate to the climate, soil and status of Dartmoor National Park and Devon
  • and will enable local communities to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change.

To do so, it will:

  • demonstrate sustainable, temperate climate food growing applicable to Dartmoor and resilient to climate change
  • educate and disseminate information about wildlife, the environmental consequences of food production and resource use in an interesting and experiential manner
  • empower individuals and families to grow their own food using techniques that are relevant to their resources and scale.
  • Enabling accessibility is key to the last objective, so the project will also aim:
  • to be accessible and enabling to those with limited mobility
  • to be accessible to low-income families and individuals
  • to be easily and safely accessible on foot and bicycle
  • to challenge social exclusion by offering free and low-cost opportunities for skill-sharing and education that are not always open to all
  • to accommodate groups and families
  • to offer opportunities for volunteering, networking, and community building
  • to demonstrate the potential of community involvement.

But, what if you lose the appeal?

Yes, that’s on our minds too! If we lose the appeal, whatever happens, we’ll need a very large fund for campaign costs and contingency plans. Rest assured, we’ll do our best to avoid this outcome, but we have to think of it.

Thank you all so much – we’re quite exhausted and frayed with nerves and tiredness right now, but we are utterly overwhelmed by your support.

Keep spreading the word, keep sending us messages, keep striving for a better world for us all, together.


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!

Newsflash!

We’re taking a break from our community posts today – there’s a lot going on in the woods, with a flurry of media attention of various kinds in the last few days. Today we have TV crews; yesterday and the day before, the papers were here, first local and then national… It’s all happening and it is having a hugely beneficial effect on our campaign, so today’s post is a quick round up of where we’re at.


The Guardian

This article in The Guardian is our favourite by far – we were very impressed with the professionalism and care of both writer, Steven Morris and photographer, Jim Wileman. Thanks! In case you haven’t seen it, do click on the lovely picture of Jim’s below to read it.

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There are also articles in more local press and in the Daily Mail (!) – we’re expecting more, so if you see any, do let us know in the comments below. It’s hard to keep up.

Crowdfunder progress…

In other (massive!) news…

This was the total of the crowdfunding campaign yesterday morning:

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Very healthy indeed! But, this was the total this morning:

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Yes, that’s right – we are less than £5,000 short of our initial funding target! We really can barely believe our eyes! It really is quite impossible to describe how it feels to be this close already, and to feel the support of so many people both locally and around the world. Together, we can challenge these aspects of a planning system that is not working for the true benefit of either the land or wildlife or the people who live here.

We are truly humbled. Thank you so much!


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!

 

Asha’s story: learning in the woods

Today’s post is from Asha. She has lived almost all her life in the woods!


My name is Asha. I’m 13 years old and have lived at Steward Wood since I was 1.

The people here are not just people I live next to and pass by occasionally, they are my family and friends.

When I was younger I spent most of my time playing pretend games in the woods with my friends here, Rowan and Ash, and that in itself has taught me so much and I can’t imagine living any other way.

 
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I have such a close bond with the little ones here. I always used to nag Mum about having another baby so I could look after it but when I think about it, I already have that in Sky (6) and Wren (3).
The other day, lots of us were down in the growing area and Sky, Wren and Myself were all chasing each other around and I just thought how lucky I was to have such a close connection with them and Sky once asked me if I’d be her big sister in my next life.

 
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When I get annoyed or need my own space all I have to do is go outside and climb a tree and I’m transported into another world of my own.
I have learned so much from living here in the woods with all these amazing people. It’s allowed me to have the choice to be home schooled, and learn in the way I want to learn.
I tried school for six months for 3 days a week when I was 10, but then I realized I was missing out on so much at home and I was always too tired to hang out with my friends here and I stopped doing all of the creative stuff I used to do before I began school.

 
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My mum teaches me about plants and herbal medicine and my dad has taught me how to make fire the primitive way.
I love this way of life, it’s amazing!


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!