We are a community of people living in a disused woodland between Staines and Windsor.
We began in 2012, as a reaction to the increasingly stressful experience of living in mainstream society and from a desire to reconnect with the land and our ecology in a time when our species seems hell-bent on destroying our natural world. Inspired by Gerald Winstanley and the 1649 diggers, we hope to nurture and develop the skills to live independently of the dangeously unsustainable consumer mainstream.
We welcome one and all to join us now and in the future as we kindle afresh the ideas and possibilties for living harmoniously here on this lovely planet and with one another, to join what has become an experiment for sustainable, community centred living.
Runnymede Eco-Village was founded in 2012 by a group of land activists known as the Diggers. They modelled themselves after Gerald Winstanley and the 1649 Diggers who had attempted to settle open, free, self-sustaining communities on the common lands of Britain during the English Civil War, but who were eventually defeated by Cromwell and his men after a year of increasingly brutal oppression. Like the 1649 Diggers, the Diggers of 2012 hoped to spark a land reform revolution and return to people their right to live freely on the land, to grow their own food and to build their own home.
The 2012 Diggers formed of a convergence between activists from the Occupy movement and former residents of the evicted Kew Bridge Eco-Community. They met at Syon Lane community allotment and began a walk down the Thames River to settle a piece of land and create a new eco-community. They had intended to squat Crown land in Windsor, but were stopped from entering Berkshire by police as they passed beneath the hills of Runnymede. After squatting and being moved on from several pieces of land, the group came upon and settled the disused former Brunel University campus, creating Runnymede Eco-Village.
Despite eviction threats and an on going legal process to remove the community from the land, the village has remained and will soon mark its third year anniversary on the 11th of June, 2015.
A declaration from the dispossessed
our old Diggers2012 website
We: peaceful people, declare our intention to go and cultivate the disused land of this island; to build dwellings and live together in common by the sweat of our brows.
We have one call: every person in this country and the world should have the right to live on the disused land, to grow food and to build a shelter. This right should apply whether you have money or not. We say that no country can be considered free, until this right is available to all.
With our current system in crisis we need a radically different way of growing our communities. We call on the government and all landowners to let those who are willing, make good use of the disused land. Land that is currently held from us by force. By our actions, we seek to show how we can live without destroying the planet or ourselves. Free from the yoke of debt and rent, our labors can be directed to the benefit of all.
Though we may be oppressed for our actions, we will strive to remain peaceful. But we are committed to our cause and will not cease from our efforts until we have achieved our goal.
20th May 2012.