25 years ago, in the early summer of 1992, the protests at Twyford Down had undergone a fundamental shift; the long standing campaign of local residents, backed by Friends of the Earth was starting to draw in new people and direct action was happening almost daily.
A major focus of these early protests was the attempt to dam the Itchen Navigation – a canal that was still, legally, a navigable waterway. Olive, a small rowing boat, was used to block the construction of the dam – frequently a dangerous task.
Stories from this time, collected for the Twyford Rising book, tell of optimism and the excitement of something new happening, for this was the first time such protests had taken place in Britain. The stories tell of an eclectic mix of former Greenham Common peace women standing alongside students, New Age travellers, local residents and Earth First!, a network for radical ecological action then recently established in the UK. The sense of changing times is palpable throughout.
I remember two or three of us going down to the Itchen at night and opening up the weir to flood the construction site. We did that regularly.