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 fragmented 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.