Blewbury is a medium-size English village which enjoys a high standard of living and quality of life, and has a tradition of interest in and caring for its environment. Community concerns about the environment led to the formation in 1993 of the Blewbury Village Society Environment Group (BVS-EG), acting as a forum for discussion and action on topics related to the village and its environment – including the village fabric, amenities such as footpaths and open spaces, springs, streams and the natural habitat.
During the first decade of the new millennium the BVS-EG initiated several actions relating to the Parish Plan. Our environmental work was brought together in 2006 with the publication of a book, A View from the Hill. Increasing awareness of concerns around climate change and a need to switch to non-polluting sources of energy led in 2005 to the formation of the Blewbury Energy Initiative – the first of a family of new village initiatives relating to sustainable living and coping with climate change, as well as our environment. In order to better reflect the emphasis on sustainability, in 2009 the BVS-EG was renamed Sustainable Blewbury.
In 2012 it was agreed to operate as an organisation independent of the Blewbury Village Society, and Sustainable Blewbury now has its own constitution, approved at our AGM in April 2012. The constitution was modified at the following AGM, on 12 April 2013, to add trustees (currently Hugh Osborn and Steve White) – this was needed to allow us to enter into leasehold agreements and other legal arrangements. it was amended again on 15 April 2015 to ensure that funds are used only for the aims and objectives of the organisation, and to require that if the organisation is wound up any remaining assets must be given to charity or to a non-profit organisation – this was needed in order to obtain a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are affiliated to CAG (Community Action Groups) Oxfordshire, and join a growing wider regional and national movement of communities small and large striving for lower carbon standards of living. There is a short video about CAG here.
Sustainable Blewbury is organised around five main themes:
- Energy – to decrease use of fossil fuels and encourage renewables
- Travel and transport – to reduce dependence on cars and wasteful transport
- Food and farming – to promote local production and fair trade
- Natural environment and heritage – to promote protection of Blewbury’s special features
- Reduce, reuse and recycle – to reduce waste, increase reuse, and recycle as much as possible
Below we list the specific projects currently underway and their convenors:
- Blewbury Energy Initiative (Ian Bacon)
- Blewbury Garden Market (Angela Hoy)
- Permaculture project (Eric Eisenhandler)
- Downland project (Peter Cockrell)
- Millbrook project: the Cleve, springs and streams (Paul Whitehead)
- Hedge-laying (John Ogden)
- Community orchard (John Ogden)
- Blewbury Wagon (Peter Cockrell)
- Village trees project (Anita Rendel)
- Village skills project
Dormant and completed projects
- Blewbury Bee Group (Debs Furness)
- Dark skies and tranquility (Mike Marshall)
- Blewbury Wagon (Peter Cockrell) – completed
- Transition Together (Jo Lakeland) – completed
We wish to involve the whole village, and welcome participation from all those with suggestions and ideas on how we can adapt to more sustainable ways of living. Our ambitions outstrip our resources – we need more helpers. If you are interested in getting involved with a project, please make contact with the project leader or our Chair.
- Co-chairs – Eric Eisenhandler and Jo Lakeland: and
- Secretary – Currently vacant, tasks shared by other Core Group members
- Treasurer – John Ogden:
- Webmaster – Eric Eisenhandler:
- Energy – Ian Bacon:
- Travel and transport – Mike Marshall:
- Food and farming – Angela Hoy:
- Natural environment and heritage – Currently vacant, tasks distributed to other Core Group members
- Reduce, reuse and recycle – Jo Lakeland:and Angela Hoy:
- Parish Council representative – Lydia Inglis
- Other members: Glen Meadows, Hilary Wongraven
In the Domesday Book Blewbury is recorded as containing a church, 89 households and four water mills – two of which were in the current Parish of Blewbury. This water wheel was installed in the late 19th century by Eli Caudwell to provide electricity for Ashbrook House. It was the first use of electricity in the village.