An illegal eviction started at dawn on Tuesday 20th January, with no notice or papers served.
Some of us were dragged off without warning, while others held on in the trees and in lockons.
But, by the end of day 1, there were still about 20 of us on site, with more arriving. Today is Saturday, day 5, many people have been bailed, or are on remand; some having to sign on at Frome Police Station every day.
There is an exclusion zone once people have been arrested and processed.
There are still people on site, several benders and a treehouse are offsite, and have not been trashed.
We need to regroup, eat together and play some music, to recover our strength and energy. But we're sticking it out, contrary to media coverage, a small core of us have not been arrested and so are not limited by the exclusion zone or police roadblocks.
The camp is between Nunney and Chantry, off the A361 west of Frome. We can't stop the road, but we can make it cost millions.
Others (vehicles and a few benders), are south, down a track signed 'Cloford GRAINSTORE Manor Farm' about half a mile west of Nunney Catch down the A361.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
We need: blankets, bedding, torches, candles, lighters, winter clothing, first aid ( no chemicals please), money, guitarists kitchen tat (especially plates, mugs, cutlery, food) and MORE PEOPLE!
BANK ACCOUNT: " Dead Womans Bottom" at Lloyds in Frome,
A/C 0907933 Branch 309340
FOR MORE INFO + UPDATE, ring 01749 880144
We didn't have an inkling they'd evict us from Dead Woman's Bottom on January 20, but I'd guessed they might serve legal summonses. Whether or not the rich lawyers decide it was an illegal eviction only time will tell. What horrifies me is where they've killed trees and hedges on both sides of the old road to widen it - why not move the road a few yards left and leave one hedge intact with all its wildlife and oxygenisation? And, if we have more hot summers then the fields' dust will get blown away. Is that Somerset's Environmental Plan? Tim Caroll shiould resign forthwith. Please next time you widen a road leave the best hedge.
Karelia Bus NFA,
GEORGE (letters, January 29) and Somerest County Council probably won't be able to agree about the eviction of protesters from the Bulls Green Link site, but we are as one on the issue of protecting existing hedgerows when it is an option. Only one side of the quarter mile long RUPP will be developed, retaining and protecting the hedge on the other side. The lie of the land and the twisting nature of the lane makes this more difficult elsewhere, but George and all the country lovers may be assured that we shall keep as many parts of the hedge as possible. ROGER SMITH Public Relations officer Somerset County Council County Hall Taunton
As SchNEWS went to press, a game of cat and mouse between protesters, bailiffs and the police is taking place at Dead Woman's Bottom near Nunney, Frome.
The five protest camps are being illegally evicted by the Under Sheriff of Somerset and his merry men who moved in early Tuesday morning. The protesters are trying to stop the proposed Bull's Green Link Road being built. Although there are only 30 to 40 people on site they are proving impossible to evict effectively.
The authorities are having real problems evicting because some of the camps are on private land, and local landowners who are opposed to the road are refusing to support the powers that be. One told SchNEWS: "There are vans and vans and vans of riot cops but the Section 69 (a formal warning from a senior cop to leave the land) that they're handing out is basically a get-out-of-jail-free card"
Despite the fact that there were children on site, no prior warning was given of the eviction. One woman was dragged off and her kids were left alone screaming, while a doctor was assaulted by bailiffs on his own land.
As fast as the bolts for the perimeter fence are set in concrete, they are being mysteriously ripped out by invisible pixies..."This protest will last for months. We are conducting a guerrilla warfare from the woods"
Everybody's favourite environmentalists Tarmac are paying for approximately two-thirds of the £3.2M road-scheme - the rest is to be met from the tax-payer. If built, it will give Tarmac easier access to the Halecombe quarry, as well as enable them to trash previously inaccessible areas of the Mendips. The road will cut through Asham Wood, one of the last two ancient woodlands left in the area and home to the endangered Greater Horseshoe bat and Fresh Water Cray fish [no, the fish aren't up a tree, they're in a stream clever-clogs]. But don't worry, according to the County Council's Structure Plan this part of the Mendips is a Designated Special Landscape Area! Ironically, while the Council are arguing that the road needs to be built to divert heavy lorries away from five villages, 30% of Halecombe Quarries output is for asphalt for roads and road maintenance.
The Mendips have been the scene of the longest running ecological direct action in the country. The mining causes massive destruction to the environment, lowering and polluting the water table and producing material for large construction projects. As one activist told SchNEWS: "It is ridiculous that the Mendips are supplying stone to the whole country. Mining should be small-scale and supplied on a regional basis"
Whatley Quarry, owned by Hanson PLC, is another site that is destroying the Mendips. It is currently looking to double in size, creating a gaping hole that will be visible from the Moon. In December '95 Earth First! staged a mass trespass, with 500 activists trashing the site and closing the quarry for a week. A court case of the 3 people charged with criminal damage to the railway line into Whatley is now a year old, with the prosecution dragging their feet in a clear attempt to break the spirit of those involved. A Show Trial is expected in March. This campaign is going to last for a while, so get down there NOW!
In July 1997 a camp was set up at Dead Woman's Bottom to resist plans for the Bulls Green Link Road, a planned road for more quarry lorries which would damage ancient woodland, bats, etc.
Stop this madness!
We will succeed - roads the dying breed!
Some day earth mother you'll be free, Free of the pain which we subject you to, All these years you've supported us, With all our selfish acts of greed, I know you can't take much more of this torment and suffering - I love you. I feel the anguish which you go through, While your children rape you and tear you apart, They blast into your body, And smother your green beauty, Destroying your abundancy of life. Some day earth mother you'll flow free, Your water will run down stream Sparkling and clean, No longer will your great blue seas Be full of waste from our wants and needs: How long will it be before your children start to listen? They carelessly pass by and cast a blind eye Get sucked into distractions of greed. For them their ignorance is bliss, What will it take to make them see Our mother's pain, which won't go away Until we all come together, Stand up for what is right, Look within and listen to our hearts, Don't close those eyes, Tread lightly on our mother, Give the respect which She deserves, Feel love for our earth mother, Show that you care, Don't break her heart. (maria)
17k photo of Maria's 2-storey treehouse being destroyed
from: email@example.com to: firstname.lastname@example.org subject: DeadWomansBottom draft Date h02:58a.m. 4April1998 Dear Squallers: I'm very tired, talked to someone on the phone a few hours ago, I'm at FestivalEye for another day-ish, I said I'd perhaps write 200 words well hours later here's 1770 words but its mainly "I did this I did that" which is quite boring and every fule kno that They are rotters, please reply to this email quite immediatelyish should I cut this to 200 words or 1500 or what bits do you like if anything (the joke on the end's good innit!) then I could spend a few hours editing it is there a theme to the next squall? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ QUARRY WORRIES from DEAD WOMANS BOTTOM ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ quarry drivers bicycle dangerous understandI've cycled and know that road wasn't wide enough for quarry trucks and cars and bicycles and walkers but but it means they over the next hundred years they'll be able to open up lots more quarries and make millions, what they do is buy up a farm for, say, a million pounds, spend a million pounds digging a huge big hole and sell the turf and mud and rock for many millions, make a tidy profit then piss off and spend it leaving a huge big hole for future generations (which wouldn't make economic sense in the long term they do it everywhere) meanwhile if you happen to be walking lost in Somerset at night beware because there are deathly holes (they should leave a ten-degree slope so plant life could get a hold but no, they maximise profit then disappear leaving a hole forever.
Monday night, beautiful tinwhistling and guitaring and singing from the kitchen bender, I lay in bed listening to it but couldn't be bothered to go in, "tomorrow" I dreamed but no.
woken by banging on my bus and shouts of "It's an eviction", I got up and put a kettle on the gas peeped out and it was true - pigs on site - loads of yellow jackets and hardhats lined up afar,
My fire was still warm, I bunged in loads of wood, went in the kitchen bender and said hello and got my StonehengeWindowArt down and stashed it in my bus then took down the rainbow swings and stashed them by it and bunged more wood in the rayburn and turned off the gas and got my spare wheel from my tat pile and bolted it in and checked out the kids and made Ruth a cup of tea because she was locked on by her neck to the new lockon on the main kitchen pole where we'd trolleyed the tarp down from up top just before darktime as the snow began (what a Winter Solstice / Xmas / NewYear we had in there I quite lunched out my lift to Stonehenge. )
Suddenly Bailiffs 34 + 34 ??? grabbed me and walked me off site, and said if I crossed their white line in the road they'd arrest me and take me to Frome police station, I said "What about my bus and stuff and I think I left a kettle on the gas", I continued 99% fluffy, and hung around chatting etceteras when a huge truck towed my bus past with the fire lit, a loose pallet on the roof, etc, I wrote down their details in my rainbow notebook, (should have grabbed my camera).
(Later I phoned MJ autos in Taunton to ask if they usually tow buses unsafely with the fire lit and loose pallets on the roof and if they were sorry and if they'd do it again if told to (this is peacetime not wartime) but they said if I phoned again they'd call the police but I said if I was a copper I'd nick the driver and it was his driving licence no mine, so I called them again reverse charges and asked the operator to log it).
Tuesday noon: channer's lie
I walked and found the police HQ portacabin where Under Sheriff Channer of ~~~~ told me where my bus was left, I said "what, unlocked" and he said it was being looked after, the stranger who witnessed this alleged lie and gave me a ride in his car to my bus unlocked alone in a layby on the busy A361 was Mike StJohn, a neutral local councillor!
Tuesday afternoon: Tidying my bus, etcetera.
Walked back, the shortcut along the bridleway by where the little hill and bronze age tumulus above Nunney used to be which they bulldozed around November 1997, then across the field to where the tipi was, off-route, met friends, walked down the old quarry road to Kerry's truck which they had said was one foot the other side of their white line so they hadn't towed it away and she had a few days to put the engine to together and sort the kids etc.
As I talked to her I noticed there was fire on the concrete where my bus had been, I ran over and shouted "my stuff's of fire" but Their security watched from a distance and didn't intervene, someone had set fire to my woodpile and there was rubbish like mattresses thrown on it making pollution, cyanide etcetera, I used a spade or something and moved the fire out bit by bit and got buckets of water from down the stream and got a proper fire together for them where the outside fire used to be on the corrugated iron wrapped around bricks so it wouldn't explode the concrete blinding innocent civilians and put my fire and tied the swings up and sorted my wood - the pit props I'd brought from London and used to level the bus, and support it when I took off the back axle etcetera. I found my bicycle, gave a note to a security guards, then cycled back to my bus.
Meanwhile the other 40 or so who'd been on site were having their own adventures, and dozens more were turning up.
But legally I could have been arrested for crossing Their white line on the concrete, They'd removed me from my tat then let persons unknown set fire to it. What really hurts is the ACME washing mangle which I had on my tat pile and used when I did laundry on a campfire with water from the stream - They write asking for a costed inventory of my alleged inventory - I just wish they'd given me another ten minutes to pick up my stuff, at Wandsworth Eco Village we got tipped off the night before so the kids could be sorted with their mums etcetera, I investigated and found that Somerset have a good reputation for traveller liaison but their gypsy liaison officer Mr $$$$ told me on the phone that he wasn't involved because he was told that we were "environmental protesters" not "travellers", and their lawyers alleged that they didn't have to give us legal notice because of Section 13 because the land was compulsorily purchased.
At that time in Algeria people were being massacred in land clearances.
(((( stuff on fire, said stop, got my bike, cycled back probably with a few things in my bag almost exhausted.
Wednesday 2.a.m. A61 lay-by:
Some Rainbow Warriors from London and Newbury (who'd zoomed from London when they'd head we'd been ambushed) shouted at me that I should have something or other when I was rude and asked them for firewood or teabags and wanted to go to bed and sleep.
Wednesday morning woken two men from Christian Nielson (I'm won't correct CN spelling as an insult to CN) in van with my swings, broom and a few bits of bus aluminium etc, they wouldn't tell me their names, I said I'd meet them back on site.
I guess they'd got the note I'd given the security guard last night asking them to give me back my wood and metal.
Raced on my pushbike, at the Nunney crossroads a tractor was coming through the two police cars, I zoomed through the gap behind him, along, past the bridleway and Orc's hole, then down the steep bit where I'd cycled so many times on my way back home - there were two platoons of yellow jackets marching up, one in the second group put his arm out but not hard enough to stop me, unknown people up trees, then braked a bit, left where the rocks used to be and up the bridleway, second bridge, then right up to where my bus used to be "Stop" said the police / bailiffs/ security / contractors "Or we'll arrest you" - "But they're burning my stuff" and after hours and hours of deaf policemen with no radios (but fun by the police line, good friends), a police officer with lots of pips got me an escort back to where my bus had been and it was clean where all my stuff had been and they'd bulldozed rubbish fires and tons of mud and greenery, I poked around in one of their heaps for some minutes and recognised a bit of dexion but they said it was dangerous and escorted me off site so I wrote down their numbers, I cycled back and had several more exhausting weeks/months.
I often phoned Tim Carroll at Taunton council (01865??? but couldn't phone the bailiffs because I didn't know who they were, they didn't reply to the photocopied letter I'd had delivered to them via Frome police station that week
I'd half expected them to turn up that Tuesday with eviction papers, because they didn't give us any eviction papers or have a case where we all go along and dance outside with the Space Goats and get on telly again like all those Newbury ones in the Strand, there were a few more surveillance helicopters than usual taking surveillance photos,
However ARC have an environmental display for children.
Dead Womans Bottom eviction wasn't illegal - because it was a section 13 compulsory land purchase , but it is unusual for authorities to evicted settled travellers like I was with no time to pack.
Now, March 1998, I get a letter from Tim Carrol saying he's not responsible at all, it was the sherriff's department, I should send him a "full costed inventory" for my "alleged losses" but when I mentioned on a friend's phone today that it's three months and that now is the magazine deadline They phone back friendly like and offhand ask what magazine, and I say 'oh, did you see my letter in the Frome Standard (Resign Tim Carroll!) about where they chopped down two hedges but should have left one so if it's a hot summer the field's won't turn to dust and blow away like desert but the Quarry companies have bought the land and need a road for future planning permissions blah blah blah -
How many freemasons does it take to change a lightbulb?
(I nicked this joke from Druid Central magazine)
I don't know - it's a secret.