Posted by & filed under Past newsletters.

Exploring ways to feel empowered

in a changing world

We are all deeply concerned at the backward steps our government has been taking on the environment and fracking, and many of us are also reeling from the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA. What he stands for threatens our efforts to make the world fossil-free, sustainable and safe from runaway climate change, but we draw hope from the world-wide solidarity of last weekend’s demonstrations which showed that if the new president tries to turn the clocks back, he will face huge opposition.

Some of us in Wirksworth did our bit, hanging a banner from the bridge over Harrison Drive saying ‘Build Bridges Not Walls’ on inauguration day. But we know we’ll have to do much, much more! Here’s why, from the makers of the film Age of Stupid, sent to us by Bob Ledbury:

“Lizzie spoke at a screening of Stupid in London the other night and climate scientist Joanna Haigh from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change gave the audience an update: the nightmare scenario for 2055 as depicted in the film (remind yourself if you can face it) was taken from the middle-worst option back in 2008 – we didn’t want to use the worst case scenario as we didn’t want to give people any excuse to write the film off. Now, that scenario is the likely option – if we continue to burn fossil fuels as we are, we are on target to hit around 5 degrees by the end of this century. 5 degrees means 2/3rds of the planet’s fertile land gone. Which means famine, war, starvation and refugees beyond anything we can imagine. Children who are alive today will see it. And then, within their children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes – from 2100 to 2150, say – we’ll hit 7 and more degrees. And that will be it for human life on Earth.”

Grassroots Wirksworth has been energised following our autumn workshop and first Open Meeting in January. We started the year climbing out of our group silos (Energy & Housing, Reduce, Reuse and Recycling, Growers, Core Group and Activism) to get to know each other better and to work on improving how we communicate within Grassroots Wirksworth and with the wider public.

Despite the fossil fuel industry, great progress IS being made on the alternatives, by engineers and businesses all over the world. Solar and wind power have made great strides, as have batteries to store their intermittent power. Anthony Gell graduate Ellen MacArthur’s Foundation showed the Davos Summit how we can switch to a Circular Economy where all materials can be re-used again and again.

Innovation and progress is happening! We must deal with the fear, the denial, and the fatalism – by getting together and supporting each other to keep working on progressive ways forward through the Transition movement.

Editorial by Mary Ann Hooper


“if not now, when; and if not me, who”?

Transition is a people-led movement that has been growing since 2005.  It is about local communities stepping up to address the big ecological challenges we face by taking action and making a difference in their own locality. People working together to find ways to make the ‘transition’ – from our dependency on fossil fuels, into a sustainable low carbon future – hence the name Transition Network. 

               We are a nurturing, caring culture, one focused on supporting each other, our local community and the wider environmental issues that affect us all.

               We meet every 6 weeks at the Derbyshire Eco Centre (Porter Lane, DE4 4LS). A business session from 6 pm to 7.30 pm, using consensus decision making, is followed by a bring and share supper, until about 9 pm. All are welcome to come to either or both…  Come along and find out more about what we are doing, who we are, to say what you think, to get to know each other and to chat.

TRANSITION WIRKSWORTH FACEBOOK PAGE: Our Facebook page is the best place to be immediately connected to what is happening in the town…..

NEW WEBSITE under construction: If you have any material, photos or articles to contribute to the new Grassroots Wirksworth website please contact: Mary Ann Hooper:  – Glennie Kindred:  or Rosemary Blenkinsop:

NEXT OPEN MEETING: 17th March – 6 to 9 PM at the Eco Centre



Main Contact: Hilary Hebron:

TEL: 01629 258914 . We are an informal group who support each other, share email campaigns and meet when we feel we need to…. We are concentrating our efforts his year on action against fracking and on promoting divestment from fossil fuels.

Anti-fracking Demonstration at the Major Oak, Sherwood Forest

Friends of the Earth recently discovered that the fracking company INEOS has been granted permission by the government to do seismic surveys in many of the Forestry Commission forests, to discover if there are sites likely to contain shale gas. One of the sites is Sherwood Forest.  Should they find any shale gas, they will be wanting to develop sites for fracking to extract the gas.

This process uses vast quantities of water mixed with sand and dozens of different chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic or hormone disrupting. These are pumped into the ground at very high pressure in order to cause fracturing [hence the popular term “fracking”] of the shale rocks to allow natural gas to percolate out and be collected.

The trouble is that the more you look into the process, the more you realise the potential for castastrophic pollution due to the difficulty of safely disposing of the return fluid, which still contains the original toxic substances, plus natural radioactive substances picked up underground and the potential for well leakage, allowing release of the very potent greenhouse gas, methane into the air plus land and water contamination with fracking fluid. On top of these concerns is noise pollution, which will take place 24 hours a day as lorries transport chemicals to the sites and remove the gas and waste fluid, the destruction of the natural habitat as access for lorries is created and the possibility of subsidence and minor earthquakes damaging houses and decreasing their value and marketability. There is also the problem of where all the extra water will come from in our small country, which, overall, already suffers from a shortage of water, as well as the concern that drinking water could be polluted [wells will be drilled vertically through the aquifers and horizontally in several directions from each vertical shaft].

Because of all these problems, several European countries have already banned this process entirely, eg. France, Bulgaria, Germany and Scotland [also the Welsh assembly]. Even in the USA, the home of fracking, many individual counties have now banned the process as have 2 states; New York and Maryland.

On Saturday 7th January a rally was held in Sherwood Forest, by the Major Oak, to protest against fracking in general and the possible exploitation in Sherwood Forest. Even seismic testing could cause damage and disrupt wildlife.

This protest was organised at very short notice but still over 200 people came together to express their vehement and implacable opposition to the despoilation of the forest and to fracking anywhere in the UK. There were protesters from local towns and villages but also from several other counties where people are currently fighting the fracking companies, and our own government, to try to prevent fracking in their own areas; Derbyshire, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Our own town of Wirksworth contributed 11 protesters, with another 3 from Bonsall.  There were speakers from Nottinghamshire Climate Alliance, a Sherwood Forest protection group, Frack Free Lancashire, Frack Free Nottinghamshire, Frack Free Derbyshire and Frack Free Eckington with us all joining together in a final song about how Robin Hood and his merry men would have dealt with fracking companies on their doorstep.

It was a friendly occasion that allowed us to make more contacts and inspired us to double our efforts to fight this dirty and unnecessary development in fossil fuel extraction. We don’t need it [renewables could easily provide the 5% of our energy needs it is estimated the process would produce in the UK] and we certainly don’t want it as the government should not be exploiting new fossil fuel reserves if they are to meet their commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and ameliorate climate change. The money the government is using to subsidise the fossil fuel industries should be used to subsidise renewable energy industries.

* If you want to help in the battle against fracking in the UK, please pledge your support to this action, started by a resident of Fylde, Lancashire, in response to the government overriding Lancashire County Council’s refusal to allow fracking at Fylde;

               “This case seeks to hold the government to account for failing to protect its citizens from the known health impacts and untold damage fracking will cause to our environment and climate. Pledge a donation to continue the legal battle; [this appeal closes on 2nd Feb]  If this case is successful, it could cause an outright ban on fracking throughout the UK. Please support it.

* A further action you could support is;  This group is challenging the legality of central government overriding the decision of the local planning authority on fracking.

* Petition against fracking in Eckington,Derbyshire; . This is asking Derbyshire County Council to do an environmental impact assessment before allowing any test drilling.

* Petitions against seismic testing to look for shale gas in Sherwood Forest;

If you are against fracking, please sign and share these petitions and appeals. If you are interested in taking a more active role in the fight against fracking and would like to join in the demonstrations we will undoubtedly need to make in the near future, please contact Hilary to be added to our e-mailing list.


Main Contact: Rosemary Blenkinsop:

The Community Garden is on Coldwell Street, opposite Wirksworth Railway Station. To become a Grower, or a Friend of the Growers contact Rosie 

WORKDAYS – Workdays at the Community Garden are the1st Sunday of the month, from 11 a.m (and other Sundays and/or Thursdays as well.)

Contact Rosemary on 07904 783818 to check what needs doing if you want to go up there on your own. All are welcome!

NEWS FROM THE GROWERS We had a well-attended talk by Sally Smith, Organic Gardening Consultant, on Gardens and Plants she has met on her extensive travels , and our AGM on Thursday 19th January at the Town Hall clubroom .  We enter our seventh  year of Community Gardening!! 

            We are currently compiling a group seed order, to be sent in after our next Planning Meeting on 16th February.  If anyone want to join the Growers as a member, they will get 45 per cent discount on seeds from KingsSeeeds , compost, and other garden items which we can order in bulk, and can borrow books and tools.


* Next Garden Days  Sunday 5th and 19th February, Sunday 5th and 19th March 11am – 3pm

* Living WIllow Fedgemaking workshop at the Garden on Sunday 19th February 10-4 , led by Ali Hayhurst the Greenwood Craftsman. Drinks provided. £5 . One more place left- please book with Rosemary if you want to come. 

* Friday 3rd February Snowdrop Social for Growers. bring  and share food and drink,  bring a snowdrop. Growers and friends welcome .We will be planning  some visits to great gardens for inspiration and joy, for the Spring, summer and Autumn. 

* Thursday 16th February Planning meeting at Hilary’s house, 21 Pittywood Road, From 10 am to 12 a.m. 

* Saturday 25th  February Fruit tree pruning at the Community Orchard, Greenhill. 1pm – 4 p.m. Bring gloves and secateurs if you have them.   

* Sunday 26th February Fruit Tree Masterclass workshop with two permaculturists at  Whistlewood Common near Melbourne ( Rosemary can offer a lift)


Main contact – Brian Hebron

TEL: 01629 258914. We meet monthly

               The Energy and Housing Group have been looking at whether we can gain support from a green energy company to provide a cheaper tariff for Wirksworth residents signing up to them. However, there are a number of unforeseen issues when we tried to do this. It seems that some parts of the UK have so much solar power that the National Grid can’t cope. Can a community generate too much solar power? Apparently the answer is sometimes.

Only 2/3 of council houses planned by Barnsley Council to receive free solar panels could do so and a project in Carmarthenshire could connect only 37% of homes. Barnsley, however, have not let this stand in their way and are installing batteries in 40 council homes in Oxspring, to see if it can help increase the capacity of the electricity network and enable more homes to install solar panels.

Northern Powergrid is funding the installation of the batteries from a software company – Moixa. Power distributor Northern Powergrid and Energise Barnsley will install the batteries, which are smaller than a boiler, in 30 council homes with solar panels on their roofs and 10 without panels.

The houses are owned by Barnsley Council and managed by Berneslai home. The £250,000 trial’s backers say households with solar panels and batteries can halve their electricity bills, helping tackle fuel poverty.



Main Contact: Judith Green 01629 825675  and Hilary

TEL: 01629 258914. The Recycling Group has only 6 members at present, not enough to carry out all our big ideas. If you or anyone you knows is passionate about recycling and reducing waste, please join us!


            * The Transition Christmas tree, sponsored by Ian’s hairdressers, was decorated by volunteers from Grassroots Wirksworth using recycled materials, as part of the beautiful display of trees at the Christmas tree festival in St. Mary’s.

            * We have arranged a meeting with the Central England Co-operative Society Member and Community Relations Officer to discuss the possibility of a plastic film recycling point and a public charging point for electric cars at the Harrison Road site. We hope to maintain contact after this initial meeting and discuss, at a future date what this Co-op does with out of date food. [One of our members thinks they leave it on the shelf too long, do you have any similar experience?] If you have other topics you think we should discuss, please let Hilary know.

            * Our group has undertaken recycling at the arts festival for 3 years with the aim of raising the profile of recycling and getting the festival committee to take it onboard. Two of our members had a meeting with the Arts Festival organisers about recycling and they have agreed that they need to deal with this issue.

            * We are looking towards other groups about the possibility of working together on a War on Waste campaign. We are specifically interested in reducing food waste. If you or a group you know would like to become involved in this, please contact Hilary.

            * RECYCLING TIP – get your unwanted furniture and functioning white goods collected by the charity Revival. This charity recycles items large and small and will collect large items at no charge. Upholstered furniture will, however, require a fire safety label. They may even accept damaged items for repair and regeneration, to sell in their on site “Vintage Green” shop. There is also a large warehouse full of recycled furniture for sale as well as household electrical items, large and small, and other household items. Why not give it a visit when you are in Ashbourne [open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5.30pm]? 8-9 Henmore Industrial Estate, Mayfield Road, DE16 1AS, tel. 01335 300907 

            If you prefer one of the larger charities, British Heart Foundation also collects these items; Alfreton store; 51, High Street, Alfreton, DE55 7DR  tel. 01773 730805

            * GOOD NEWSsince introducing the charge for single use plastic bags, usage in England is estimated to be reduced to 15% of the pre-charge usage.

Did you know that Bangladesh was the first country to ban single use plastic bags, back in 2002 [floods were being exacerbated because these blocked the sewers and storm drains], Ireland banned the issue of free single use bags in March 2002 and China banned provision of free single use bags in 2008.



more info about this annual event to follow…..


Derbyshire Connect – Sent in by Keith Orford

From the 12th February 2017 a new type of Bus Service is being piloted in the area around Ashbourne and stretching as far as Wirksworth – serving Carsington village, Carsington Water, Bradbourne,  Brassington, and Kirk Ireton amongst many other places. It will be run by Ashbourne Community Transport under contract to the County Council. It is pre- bookable and flexible… Passengers will be able to ring 01335 342951 and say when they would like to be in Ashbourne, Wirksworth  or any of the other places served. It is possible to book up to two weeks in advance but no later than two hours on a day of travel.

               It is open to everyone with a standard fare of £2 single, £3.80p return  Children £1.20p single £2.40p return. Gold Card holders travel free as they would on any bus service – after 0930 Monday –Friday and anytime Saturday. The service runs until 6.00pm and once someone makes a booking they will be registered as a user.

               It will build on the experience of Moorlands Connect  which already runs in to Ashbourne from Staffordshire. Many of the small villages have a very limited bus service and the flexibility of a Connect service has attracted more passengers.  It will combine current local, school, dial a bus, active travel and non emergency health transport into one It will carry school pupils between  Kirk Ireton and Queen Elisabeth School.. When patients make an appointment at St Oswald’s Hospital in Ashbourne they will be given details of the Connect Service with their appointment card. The service can also serve patients coming into the Hannage Brook Centre at Wirksworth. 

               Existing bus services will keep going. In particular the trunk route (110/111) between Matlock, Wirksworth and Ashbourne .The County Council has dug into reserves to make that possible for another year .

               Connect is a pilot scheme running on a six month trial. Feed back from users will be vital.  Fundamentally the service will aim to help overcome rural isolation  and from an environmental sustainability objective offset some car use. 


Please let us know if your group would like to be added to this page – Contact:


* STONEY WOOD WIRKSWORTHContact: Chris Bristow:

If you want to hear about what’s happening in Stoney Wood – “like “ our Facebook page.



End of Grassroots Wirksworth Winter Newsletter 2017



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *