Nine Miles

A little light road protest research…

Solsbury Hill (by Andy Milford, posted under a Creative Commons license)

For an interesting, inspiring, heart-breaking, maddening morning, I can recommend going through this archive of environment & road protest camp news and links from the late ’90s onward.

Strangely, no one I’ve found seems to have put together a list of protest camps. I’m almost done with getting one together, though it’s limited to road protest sites that existed long enough to get evicted and to make it into SchNEWS communiques or the like. There are plenty of other sites still going – strangely, the monstrosity that is industrial civilization doesn’t seem impressed that it’s 2012… I’m sure the bulldozers and chainsaws will fall silent once December 21st comes around, however… (This is by way of a joke at my own expense, having spent much of the late ’90s and early ’00s espousing my own brand of Mayan 2012-ery. For those of you still holding your breath for an Ascension, a mighty Convergence or a similar Saving Event, I can only say, ‘Ghost Dance.’)

Anyway, all my research has been for a good cause, that being a bit of an agitprop installation at Uncivilisation 2012, growing ever closer…

Also of interest in my researchings: The Green Fuse protest history page and the great links on Jim Hindle’s Nine Miles and Adrian Arbib’s Solsbury Hill site, to name but a few.

I’m particularly looking forward to meeting Jim at Uncivilisation next weekend - Nine Miles is an extraordinary book, essential reading for anyone who was alive in the 1990’s and has had anything to do with life on the margins of this crazy society. It had me in tears more times than any book for years, and I’m still only starting to understand why. I wasn’t even a road protestor – I was too afraid, of many things, not the least of which was my own mental health. Perhaps that’s one reason the book affected me so much.

There’s much, much more on the road protest subject to come – right now, here in the full madness of summer and preparations for festivals and storytellings, is not the place for those thoughts, but soon.

In the meantime, anyone who’s even vaguely interested in what happened in the ’90s could do better than take some time to follow a links-trail from Twyford Down and Solsbury Hill to Fairmile, Newbury and the Pollock Free State (stopping off at GalGael, where we were a mere matter of weeks ago, on the way) and getting at least a passing acquaintance with The Land Is Ours, Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets, before heading to Bilston Glen (still going) via the M6 toll road at Birmingham and Stanworth Valley. Don’t forget Wanstonia or the Dongas either, or how it all began. You might need to check out Greenham Common, the Battle of the Beanfield and the Stonehenge free festivals, too. Before you know it, there’ll be the Levellers (both lots), General Ludd and Crazy Horse breathing down your neck. Good luck. You’re in fine company.

Given the mood of the current government, you might be needing the skills learned in some of those places sooner than you’d like. Educate yourself now, before the tree-fellers come your way, I reckon.

But all this was intended to be a quick aside – interesting links to videos and the like will have to wait for another day! There’s work to be done!

(EDIT 30.11.13 – there’s much more in the comments below, and links to photos of the commemorative installation that resulted from the research. Do follow the links…)
(from Jim Hindle’s ‘Nine Miles’ site)
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18 thoughts on “A little light road protest research…”

  1. Thanks for those other pointers, Zoe – it was a great weekend, the best yet at Unciv by far. I think you’d have liked it. I hope the ‘Capturing Witches’ conference was a good’un. I know you’ve already seen Jody’s post which includes some photos of the memorial installation at http://ecolabs.posterous.com/155521227 – I’ll be putting more up on that theme soon.

  2. Weymouth’s Teddy Bear Woods camp was set up by a bunch of us from Fairmile and some local Weymouth activists not long after after the Newbury evictions – which I’m pretty sure was around May of 1996 – not sure when it got dismantled….’Friends against the Brown Route’ was the local FOE group that initiated if memory serves me right I think…

  3. Cinderpath woods and Stanworth Valley as part of the no M65 protest is often overlooked – the peril of having happened in the North of England I think. There was a sustained protest for over a year strongly supported by Earth First groups from Manchester, Lancaster and Liverpool and drawing protestors from across the country including a few M11 veterans. The first substantial tree village of around 40 tree houses was built at Stanworth and evicted in May 1995. The evictions did get national media coverage and there are a few bits and pieces online Adrian Abib has some lovely photos of the site.

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