The last horse-powered farm

Having a week’s holiday in Northumbria recently, it turned out that a farm very near to where we were staying is reported as being the last farm in the UK to be worked by horses. This is Sillywrea farm near Langley-on-Tyne. Walking a footpath through the farm I could feel there was something different about the field of barley we were walking alongside; it dawned on me that the difference was the absence of tractor ‘tramlines’ running across the field. Walking on we passed by the farmyard, seeing horse drawn equipment –  a roller and trailer, and later saw two horses with hay rakes at work in the fields. The farm has featured in various articles, including:

“The land where heavy horses reign supreme” (2009)

And a book: “The Last  Horsemen” (Charles Bowden, 2011 [Andre Deutsch Ltd.])

It’s been very quiet…

You may notice that there has been little activity on the Transition Constantine website for a long time. Since setting up the TC Facebook page, most of our communications activity has happened there. Very many people use Facebook, and its ‘push’ mechanism means that no-one has to go out of their way to look for a specific website.

Facebook is good for getting attention, but less suitable for providing directly the ‘longer read’, where someone is interested in a particular topic. We are going to try using the Transition Constantine website for providing a bit more depth, via links from Facebook posts. So if someone is interested, they can easily follow the link to the TC website; if not, they can easily pass it by without being overloaded with unwanted information.

Potential for hydro power?

There are a number of streams running through Constantine parish and out to the Helford river.  One with perhaps the largest catchment area flows out to Polwheveral Creek.  Given the rain in recent days there is a good flow of water at present:

Only five or six valleys along at Helston, Western Hydro Ltd. has installed a 200kW hydroelectric generator on the River Cober:

Western Hydro powerhouse, River Cober
Western Hydro powerhouse, River Cober

Although there’s a smaller flow here at Polwheveral, there may still be potential for a small hydro scheme?

Eggs from rare breed hens

A wonderful assortment of eggs from rare breed hens – thanks to Fox Farm Growers (near Hayle), via Constantine Farmers’ Market.

Rare breed hens' eggs
Rare breed hens’ eggs

This Changes Everything

Outside the Tolmen Centre
Outside the Tolmen Centre

To help raise awareness of the upcoming COP21 climate conference in Paris, Transition Constantine organised in mid-November a screening of the film ‘This Changes Everything’ at the Tolmen Centre in Constantine.

The film is, of course, associated with the book of the same name by Naomi Klein, and it provides some intense coverage of various groups around the world on the front lines of ‘Blockadia’.  From tar sand development in Canada, through gold mining in Greece, and coal power station development in India, the film exposed the impact of global corporations on communities, climate and the natural world.

As an event, it was well supported, with over 30 attending and many new faces in the audience.

Fund-raising for the Pre-school solar roof

pre-school thermometerA wonderful total of over 200 supporting votes was achieved in the pre-school’s bid for a share of the Marks & Spencer Community Energy Fund. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to over-top the sheer weight of numbers from other projects in a first-past-the-post voting system.  In Cornwall the funding went to the Hayle swimming pool project.  So, the pre-school’s fund-raising continues, and the traditional fund-raising ‘thermometer’ has been re-erected (somewhat refurbished) at the school.

Constantine Community Land Trust – Launch Event

On Tuesday 28th April the Constantine Community Land Trust will be holding the LAUNCH EVENT of the new organisation (and it will incorporate the AGM of the initial set-up organisation).  For the new organisation, the meeting aims to:

  • Adopt a constitution
  • Elect a board of directors
  • Discuss prospective sites
  • Recruit new CLT members

The meeting will be held at the Tolmen Centre in Constantine, with doors opening at 7:00 pm for a start at 7:30 pm (drinks and nibbles available).

For more information and an agenda, see:

http://constantinecommunitylandtrust.co.uk/

The Lost Posts

In the course of a migration to a new hosting service, the most recent posts to the Transition Constantine website went missing. To give a flavour of what happened in the last year or so, here below are some new posts to summarise some of the key events (and regular activities) of the Transition Constantine year.

The lost posts – Constantine Hustings

Poster for the village hustings
Poster for the village hustings

What would an election be without the village hustings? With the national election due in early May, members of Transition Constantine (working with other members of the local community) helped to organise an event at the Tolmen Centre to which all the candidates were invited. Rather to our surprise, all six of them agreed to come. Even more to our surprise, the audience was over 100 strong, filling the guild room of the Tolmen Centre to near capacity. The event was designed to follow the Radio 4 ‘Any Questions’ format, in which each candidate gives an answer to a question placed by a member of the audience. According to one of the candidates, Constantine was the only village in the Camborne & Redruth constituency to hold its own hustings.

The lost posts – Apple Tree Planting

As an enhancement to the recently re-equipped play area in Constantine, members of the group planted one sunny Saturday sixteen good-sized apple trees in clumps around the area. Hearts initially sank on being told the size of the hole that would be needed for each tree, but fortunately the soil proved to be quite easily dug (!). Some remarkable spade-work saw all the trees planted in a morning.