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The off-grid Steward community group has 23 members and have lived in the woods for over a decade
Steward Woodlanders ousted while hundreds of conventional homes are built nearby

 

An off-grid community located in woodland within Dartmoor National Park, UK are faced with eviction after 15 years of living side by side with nature. The park authorities are ordering them out on the grounds that they had a “harmful impact on the character and appearance of the Devon park”.  Meanwhile, the same authorities are allowing property developers to make millions building hundreds of homes.  See our new video here

The Steward Community Woodland group appealed the decision, stating they have “hugely improved the biodiversity on their 32-acre plot”. Their homes are completely off-grid, made up of recycled timber produced on site, amongst other reused materials elsewhere, that fit nicely with the woodland.

A community stalwart named Merlin manages the community energy schemes such as solar and hydro power systems to generate and store power for the 23 occupants.

Member Daniel leads his "wild food taster" session in Dartmoor Park
Member Daniel leads his “wild food taster” session in Dartmoor Park

The group welcomes locals  to come and help in the communal gardens. Schoolchildren from the area are also invited to learn more about woodland and growing skills in a hands-on and fun way instead of inside a classroom.

Tom Greeves, the chairman of the Dartmoor Society has praised the group, stating: “We admire the tenacity and dedication over 15 years of the small group of men, women, and children who have opted for a very different lifestyle”

However, the park authority does not agree. It granted temporary planning permission twice in the past and now the development management committee has refused permanent permission.

The 14 adults, four teenagers and five children who live there are devastated. Sonia Parson who has raised 3 of her children on the commune said she is heartbroken by the news in a video you can watch here. She says her kids see the other members and the animals they live among as family and do not want to be moved on.

After the decision on 10th August 2016. The group took to their website to express their anguish over the news: “It is with huge sadness and utter shock that we must let you know our appeal has been dismissed” one post reads. Whilst another exclaims gratitude to their supporters:  “We received over 400 letters of support and a significant number from our local area. We would like to THANK all the people who wrote in and have supported us mentally,

Whilst another exclaims gratitude to their supporters:  “We received over 400 letters of support and a significant number from our local area. We would like to THANK all the people who wrote in and have supported us mentally, physically and emotionally. Your support will and has been a huge help to us.

You can view the details of the appeal here.

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2 Responses to “Dartmoor community eviction”

  1. Anna

    Surely they qualify as an ethnic minority with special protection, the same as Romany communities? Dartmoor should be ashamed of themselves for not embracing an alternative lifestyle that has existed historically for millenia.

    Reply
  2. Brian H Roth

    I think the decision is deplorable and cowardly and an abuse of power given TO them which can ( and perhaps SHOULD) be taken way from them just as easily. Is there a hidden agenda? How many people made this decision? What does the larger community of Dartmoor say? Is there anyone against the community who stands to gain financially from your loss? Follow the money. Start a fund to save your community and take this body to court. Explore and uncover their hidden agenda if there is one. What are their motives for this move against you? I would love to learn you won your permanent permission.

    Reply

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