In completing Twyford Rising, I have realised that it is more than a series of memories about a place and a protest. The book is also filled with inspiration for current campaigners and is vital to understanding the contemporary environmental movement.
From the very start of the book, it is clear that many of the people involved knew that they wanted to stop more than this one road through one hill. Many felt that the very values of western society needed addressing to ensure wild places like Twyford Down were cared for and protected.
John Stewart, who today is a leading light in the campaign against the expansion of Heathrow airport, had been opposing damaging road building schemes for long before direct action started at Twyford.
Interviewed for Twyford Rising, he said:
Many of the people who got involved were not aiming to change transport policy in particular, but were more concerned with affecting a wider change in society’s values … Twyford Down captured the mood of many young people dissatisfied with society and inspired them to take action.
In another interview, Larf from Somerset stressed that focusing on just roads and cars was ‘missing the bigger point’:
A lot of people think it’s about roads and cars, whereas roads and cars are a small part of the big thing. That’s the whole problem and if it’s not all tackled, then there’s no point.
Colin wrote a long memoir about his time at Twyford and echoes Larf when he says:
It’s to do with lifestyle, one that works. This one’s going to strangle itself slowly unless you do everything you do with respect for the land that’s supporting you.
These are just a few of the interviews in the book that ask searching questions about how we live, what we value and how we relate to the natural world. These questions are addressed through both political and spiritual lenses, creating a rich tapestry of ideas that resonate down the years and bring a deeper understanding to the global environmental movement that Twyford help bring into being.