The Runnymede Eco-Village community have built a long house kitchen, geodesic dome communal space and other low impact structures made from the renewable timbers and recycled materials. We’ve also dug a well (where we draw water from), setup solar panels for producing electricity. Our food growing is in the early stages, but our plan is to become as self-sufficient as we can.
Interview with Phoenix, a member of the Runnymede Ecovillage community:
Hamish: Hi Phoenix, can you tell us about the history of Runnymede Ecovillage and why it was established?
Phoenix: Sure, about 30 people walked out of London after some of the Occupy London movement, and the main mission was to get disused land to grow food and create low-impact homes. This was a response to the issue of land distribution in this country, where 1% own 70% of the land. The idea was to use disused land for sustainable living and experiment and learn about low-impact living.
Hamish: How did the community come about, and how long has it been here?
Phoenix: After some diversions by the police, we ended up at Runnymede, a historic place, and set up a camp. There were initial camps on other bits of land, but we eventually settled here. We were here for about a month before we were taken to court and got a possession order. We moved further down into the woods and set up here, and we’ve been here for about a year now. It hasn’t been easy, as we’ve been evicted multiple times, but we’re still here and still digging in.
Hamish: What is the issue with disused land, and why is it important to use it for sustainable living?
Phoenix: Disused land is a problem because it’s not used by anyone, and there’s a vast amount of it in the country. The idea behind the campaign is to use some of this land to grow food and provide a place for people to live sustainably and in a low-impact way. We’reliving very high-impact lives, and we need to learn to live in a more sustainable way.
Hamish: Can you tell us about the space and structures at Runnymede Ecovillage?
Phoenix: There’s a reproduction Anglo-Saxon longhouse about 50 foot long, built by one of our members who has experience in woodland skills. There’s also a big geodesic dome and various other structures and homes, including Hobbit-like homes, teepees, and benders. We’ve also cleaned up a lot of the area, including an old area covered in rubbish and old fridges, and made things beautiful.
Hamish: How has the community been received by visitors and the authorities?
Phoenix: We’ve been very friendly with all the people who come and visit here, and they see that there’s a good thing going on. We’ve had visits from the authorities, and they’ve been impressed with what we’re doing. We’ve also been evicted multiple times, but we keep coming back and keep networking with other communities. There’s another diggers camp over in the Forest of Dean, and we need more of these communities all over.
Hamish: Thank you for talking with us today, Phoenix. It sounds like Runnymede Ecovillage is doing some really interesting work.
They were evicted, by property developers
Runnymede Eco-Village: Sustainable Living on Disused Land
The Runnymede Eco-Village community was a group who walked out of London after the Occupy London movement to create a space for sustainable living and low-impact homes. The community aimed to use disused land to grow food and experiment with low-impact living.
The community was at Runnymede, a historic place, for about a year. They built various structures and homes, including an Anglo-Saxon longhouse, a geodesic dome, Hobbit-like homes, teepees, and benders. They also dug a well, set up solar panels for electricity, and were in the early stages of food growing.
The community faced challenges, including multiple evictions, but they dug in and networking with other communities. The idea behind the campaign was to use disused land for sustainable living and experiment and learn about low-impact living. The Runnymede Eco-Village community was doing some really interesting work, and there is a need for more communities like it all over the country.