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This site has not been updated since 2014 and is being maintained as an archive for now. As time allows we'll be weeding out the dated material and presenting the many useful articles in a new format. We'd appreciate any feedback on what you find most useful on this site via our contact page.

Guest Writers

Cross Sector Partnerships and Transition Towns

Roz Brown in conversation with Dave Prescott of Transition Hay-on-Wye

The need for broad community involvement is frequently recognised by TT groups, and is certainly advocated by the founder of the movement. But many TTs struggle to identify and work with existing community organisations to forward the process of meeting the global challenges of climate change and peak oil.  One TT group in Mid Wales proceeded from the outset to foster this collaboration and work with and through other organisations. In this interview, Dave Prescott tells the story of Transition Hay on Wye.


Can you say something about your current role in Transition Hay-on-Wye, and your background in cross sector partnerships (and what that means)


I’m part of the ‘initiating group’ for Transition Hay-on-Wye and my role is a mix of keeping people updated via the newsletter and linking with new groups. So far this has mainly been the Chamber of Commerce and the Hay Festival. My professional background is

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A Guide to Pollinator-Friendly Gardening

by Sanna Burns

There are many reasons to encourage pollinators in the garden. The pure delight of sitting in your garden listening to the pleasant drone of insects about their business is but one. Gardeners know that encouraging honey bees, the world’s best pollinators, is a ‘Good Thing’ if you want high yields, and that where you develop an environment attractive to pollinating insects, you also encourage pest predators such as ladybirds.

Over the past twenty years or thereabouts, honey bees in particular have faced a number of new and serious problems, (including the varroa mite, (Varroa destructor), originating from south-east Asia, new pesticides, including neo-nicotinoids, a series of wet summers, newly-arrived foreign diseases and Colony Collapse Disorder), that have led to significant colony losses, and a heightened public awareness, thanks to the national media, of a ‘lack of bees’: The WI, at their National AGM, voted to ‘save the bees’.

But what can an ordinary person do considering that there are

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New Flowering of a Secret Garden



The Radnorshire Enterprise For Nature, Education And Wellbeing - RENEW

RENEW is a constituted not-for-profit association formed with the objective of advancing the understanding and practice of sustainable living, healthy eating, environmental awareness and personal development.

The association is based in a one and a half acre Victorian walled garden near Newbridge-on-Wye, Powys. We are currently engaged in restoring and developing the garden as a resource and education centre for adults and children. We run courses and workshops in the garden and in the surrounding landscape on organic horticulture, garden design, sustainable living, forest schools, wild habitats, edible wild plants & environmental studies. Day visits and camping in the garden can also be arranged for groups and organisations who would like to explore the area.

The walled garden was built between 1870 and 1880 and is part of the Doldowlod estate once owned by James Watt, one of the leading lights in the development of the steam engine during the industrial revolution. The estate is set in the beautiful countryside of the Wye valley and is rich in wildlife and ancient trees, the river itself being an SSSI. This is also good walking country of open hills and moor land.

The walled garden had been disused for nearly thirty years until RENEW took it over at the beginning of 2005. Much work has now

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One mans junk...

Freecycle - One mans junk is another mans treasure.

(or how to keep things out of landfill)


What exactly is Freecycle? It's a very simple concept that was the brainchild of Deron Beal in 2003. He started a Yahoo group and sent emails to around 20 of his friends. The email listed usable items that he no longer wanted or needed but were too good to throw away, and he offered them for free. And so, Freecycle was started.

Within a few months, Freecycle groups on Yahoo were springing up all over America. The idea spread to Canada and the UK and today there are over 4800 groups and 6.7 million members worldwide. Freecycle is now an international organisation and Freecycle UK is a registered charity. Amongst the thousands of people who work for Freecycle, only two are paid a salary, all the rest are volunteers.

Freecycle today, still retains the original concept, everything offered must

Suitable for all ages

The Freecycle Network (TFN) has moved forward with the times,

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Worm Farming - A Living Minefield?

Recently someone asked for informtion via our forum on commercial scale worm farming. At around the same time a Permaculture Magazine reader was requesting an article on the same topic.  It seems that real information is hard to come by on this subject.  So I began a little research, having recently acquired a small scale Can O'Worms garden wormery of my own.

A trawl through what came up on Google makes depressing reading. There are quite a few companies out there who will supply you with an expensive working system for your own small needs, plus the worms to go in it. I opted for a three tier stacking system that looked to be easy to operate, and, mostly, that has proved to be the case. The progress is pretty slow though. After six months we have still not made it to the top tray, but I do have a pint or so of liquid feed. However some of that may be due to rainwater getting in through the top ventilation holes - I have now solved this by a cumbersome system of spacers and a flat board on top, held in place by several bricks against the gales we suffer up here in the Welsh mountains.

This has made it harder to access and feed the little darlings. Why they can't design a top that keeps out the rain and lets the air in I can't fathom. But hey - ho. I also had to stand all 5 legs in pots of water to stop the ants getting into the womerry - they don't affect the worms but they will eat the eggs. The pots then fllled up with autumn leaves, so I am not at all sure how effective my water barrier has been. Also the pots are now frozen solid. I did fit an insulating jacket round the structure at the onset of below zero weather, but as the top is now frozen on and immoveable, I have not been able to see if the worms are also deep frozen.

You are no doubt becoming aware of some of the pitfalls of an outdoor wormerry on a small scale.

Now imagine you decided to make use of some land to raise

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