BRIDPORT’S BIG GREEN WEEK
Bridport’s Big Green Week got off to a flying start with the gathering on Millenium Green with stalls, games and music. Apart from the fun and enjoyment, there was a very serious side to the event – to showcase the ever larger climate and environmental catastrophe looming before us and showcase some of the local initiative being taken to mitigate the impact.
This year’s Great Big Green Week here in Bridport focuses on restoration; the restoration of our soil, our rivers, our community, and of course ourselves. It’s tough out there in the wide world at the moment: fiscal chaos, wars, reports everyday about how the natural world is under attack. And always when we learn the true facts it is ever worse than we suspected.
Restoring is a healing action, taking something that is damaged or working poorly and making it whole, getting it to work so that it doesn’t pollute or is now more efficient, so that it fits in with the communities that surround it. Multiple relatively small local actions are the antidote to the global chaos. We may not be politically powerful but with the right wind, our actions (and similar countless actions) might thoroughly infect our society.
To let people in the main part of town know what was happening on Millenium Green, Town Crier John Collingwood gave a couple of cries and I made a speech in Bucky Doo Square which included the following:
“Twelve months ago I stood here and spoke to you about my hopes for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, which took place in Glasgow between 31 October to 12 November. It was the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference hence the number in the name. I don’t know about you but I am extremely disappointed by the pace at which delivery is taking place across the globe.
In 2010 David Cameron’s Conservative Party came to power on a ‘Vote Tory – Go Green’ agenda – and little happened. We now have a Liz Truss led Conservative government which appears to be hell bent on rolling back rather than pushing forward the green agenda. More gas, more oil and fracking instead of investing in green energy.
£116 million, yes, £116 million pounds, that is what has been spent to remove 22 electricity pylons between Winterbourne Abbas and Hardy Monument and bury the cables 3 feet underground. That is almost £6 million per pylon. And for what? Apparently it is to, are you ready for this: “Return a landscape that once inspired Thomas Hardy to its natural beauty”.
Well, I am sorry if that is the case then it has been a complete and utter waste of money. Even the promotional photograph being used to illustrate how the pylons blighted the landscape has each pylon picked out with a big red circle in order to enable viewers to see them. That’s how intrusive they are.
By removing the pylons the ‘Hardyesque’ fantasy of a natural landscape may have been enhanced, but we now have a 6 mile long trench containing high voltage cables, filled with stone and concrete snaking its way across the land. But that is OK because you can’t see it. Out of sight out of mind – I don’t think so.
Just imagine if Bridport Town Council had been given the equivalent of the cost of removing just one pylon to invest in Green energy projects. We could, for example, have installed solar panels over 500 plus car park spaces instead of the 5 we are currently able to afford. Energy that could be fed into the local grid for the benefit of local people. Multiply that by 22 and virtually every car park space in West Dorset could have become a power generator. All that power being generated and not a square inch of green space touched.
The removal of the pylons is an example of an inappropriate ‘nice idea’. We should be installing wind turbines on the AONB not wasting millions of pounds in removing the pylons that will deliver the clean energy of the future to our homes and businesses”.
Stalls and other activities taking place on Millenium Green included:
- Entertainment was provided by The Sideways Band who played in the morning, interspersed with some speeches including a key note one from me. Then East St Band played during the early afternoon until the event closed.
- Bridport Co-housing: Showing that energy efficient, climate resilient, nature friendly housing is possible and affordable.
- Bridport Town Council: energy champion stall – introducing the town council’s scheme to help people reduce their energy needs while staying warm, and understand the options available. The Energy Champions will be in Skilling Saturday 1st October.
- Bridport Local Energy/Dorset Community: energy: information on the proposed Energy Local Bridport solar project to supply householders and businesses with low cost solar energy. Solar power model making for children.
- Bridport Community Shed & St Mary’s Eco Group: building bird boxes, £5 each to cover costs. It was a drop-in but if people had a particular bird in mind, they could prebook with Janet at [email protected] so that you get the right size.
- Bridport Fashion Revolution: display of the damage caused by throwaway fashion, and demonstrations of how to make your clothes last longer.
- Bridport Food Matters and Local Food Group: Love Food Hate Waste, showing local initiatives to combat food waste, information about local growers and how to get involved. Snacks available from the Food Glut stall.
- Dorset Climate Action Network & Transition Town Bridport: Greener Homes. Learn how to make your home greener and more energy efficient and book a visit to the open homes showing how. Find out about DCAN’s other projects, including the Great Big Dorset Hedge. dorsetcan.org
- Dorset Wildlife Trust: See how Dorset Wildlife is working to protect our environment, discover their range of volunteering opportunities and sign up to visit the beavers. dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
- West Dorset Friends of the Earth: coffees, teas, refreshments, write a poem or share a quote for our Wall of Words, info on River Monitoring and how you can help. Sign up for the cycle through town on 1st October.
- Bridport Area Community Housing and Raise the Roof: Promoting the need to build affordable homes that use local materials using less energy to create as well as to live in, and showing how this can be done.
- Sustainable Palm Oil Community: learn more about palm oil and the work of the local sustainable palm oil group to make Dorset the first county whose businesses use only sustainably produced oil.
- Guardians of Nature: display of animal and plant frieze with opportunities for children to paint more shapes and add to it.
Stars of the event were the pupils from St Mary’s School who were showing us all how important it is that we take action now in order to let them have a safe and secure future. The school has a very active ‘eco club’ and some of the pupils were there showing off a Plastic Free game they had come up with. I got on my knees and played, not very successfully, but the pupils took pity on me and let me have a rainbow wristband as a reward for ‘trying my best’. Later they took to the stage and sang a powerful song about the importance of recycling.
The Mass Cycle Ride.
Bridport’s Big Green Week will be rounded off by a mass cycle ride through the town.
The aim of the Cycle Ride is to encourage the residents of Bridport to think about how you come into town. Before you set out on your journey ask yourself should I walk, should I cycle, should I use the No 6 bus or should I use my car? By walking you are exercising and taking time to take in the world around you; by cycling you are using the most efficient and least polluting mode of transport on the planet; by using the No 6 bus you are supporting public transport and finally by using your car you are doing the complete opposite to all of those.
To join the urban peloton simply come to the Football Club car park, with your bicycle, at 11.00am. where we will assemble and prepare our bikes ready to set off at 12.00 noon.
BRIDPORT FOOTBALL CLUB
Bridport FC was established on 7 October 1885 and in their early years played in a variety of leagues, including the Dorset League, South Dorset League, West Dorset League, and Perry Street League.
Today Bridport FC run three teams, the First Team play in the South West Peninsula League (East), the Reserve Team play in the Dorset Premier League and the Development Team Play in The Dorset Leagues Division One. In addition they also host all youth teams, Ladies and Walking Football.
After several years of negotiation Bridport FC finally has a secure future with the signing of a 99 year lease with the Town Council. This will enable the club to plan and invest with confidence, secure in the knowledge that it no longer risks having to find a new home.
To celebrate the signing of the lease members of the Town Council including Town Clerk, Will Austin and Town Surveyor, Daryl Chambers who both played a key role in the negotiations between Bridport FC and Dorstet Council, and several other councillors went along on Saturday to show their ongoing support for the club and watch the FA Vase second qualifying round match against Petersfield Town FC. The image below shows members of Bridport FC and the Town Council outside the Beehive before the match.
The lovely sunny autumn afternoon was absolutely perfect for playing and watching the match which Bridport won 2 – 0 and now go on to play in the first of six rounds which if they continue to be successful ends with the final played at Wembley. You can read a full match report HERE.
DEBORAH TILTMAN – EMBROIDERY ARTIST
On Friday evening I went along to the preview of Bridport born embroidery artist Debbie Tilltman’s exhibition at the Art Unlimited gallery in South Street
Debbie grew up in a family where her mum taught her to knit and sew from an early age. In her younger years sewing was a passion and at school she sat O level needlework, but otherwise she has no formal art training.
A lifelong love of sewing led to a broadening of her skills into hand-embroidered pictures. Over the ensuing years there were many experiments, which led to some happy accidents and some absolute disasters. The first time she tried to dye some fabric, the outcome was a pile of pieces suitable only as camouflage for an MOD contract. But she continued to experiment and explore her craft, developing skills and confidence all the time. All these experiments led eventually to more successes than failures, and then, some years ago Debbie felt confident enough to exhibit in Dorset Art week for the first time.
Debbie takes her inspiration from the natural world and gardens, with a particular passion for flowers. Wherever she goes she is always taking photos to record shapes and forms, like ponds and trees and the wonderful coast line and countryside surrounding Bridport. Last year, she was lucky enough to visit Monet’s garden, which she describes as stunning and an inspiration for some of her more recent work.
The images below give an insight into the amazingly detailed work Debbie produces. The exhibition continues until Thursday 6 October so do pop in and have a look.
FROM STREET TO SEA 4
From Street to Sea – Bridport’s twice yearly mass litter pick takes place on Sunday 16 October.
On that morning an army of volunteer pickers, who care about our community, will be out clearing away other peoples rubbish from our beaches, rivers, streets and green spaces.
To get involved simply turn up at one of the following places at 10.00am:
- Morrisons small car park – to pick Askers Meadow and other local green spaces.
- Co-op car park – to pick Happy Island and other local green spaces
- West Bay Discovery Centre – to pick the streets of West Bay
- Watch House Cafe – to pick the beaches
Feel free to print off and use or display the poster below to promote From Street to Sea 4 in your immediate neighbourhood. Let’s make it the biggest clean up of your much loved local environment to date.
PLASTIC FREE BRIDPORT
Bridport achieved Plastic Free Town status in 2021 but that is not the end of the story. The Plastic Free team have been quietly beavering away to encourage more and more people, businesses and community groups to reduce or eliminate singes plastics.
Whilst walking through town on Saturday I noticed an interesting sign on a pottery stall on South Street. The stall belonged to potter Lucy Burns and looking closer I was really pleased to see her range of ceramic travel coffee mugs. Next time you are in town on a Saturday pop along and treat yourself to a green alternative to the ubiquitous throwaway coffee cup or another one of her lovely ceramic pieces.
HOT OFF THE PRESS – Congratulations St Mary’s Primary School on being awarded Plastic Free School status. The first school in Bridport to do so. Achieving this award is no mean feat and it has taken a huge whole school effort over eighteen months to get there. Well done everyone involved.
APPLE JUICING IN THE COMMUNITY ORCHARD
Last Sunday as part of Great Big Green Week the Bridport Community Orchard Group invited the public to come along to the third and final apple juicing session of the year.
Despite the long dry summer the apples this year have been really juicy and almost free from damage by pests. As a result the 200 pasteurised bottle target has been met with relative ease and on Sunday the juice produced was frozen to be stored in readiness for use and sale at future events including Wassailing in January. The bottles of pasteurised juice will be on sale at the Makers Market on Saturday 8th October.
Visitors to the orchard were able to watch and join in with the orchard team as they washed, chopped, scratted and pressed the apples in order to extract the delicious juice. Refreshments including the fresh apple juice were available. The perfect sunny autumn morning was complimented by the playing of cellist Matt Benjamin of some beautiful bucolic pieces.
MAYORS CIVIC DAY
The Mayor’s Civic Day is an opportunity to show off our wonderful town to mayors and civic leaders from across Dorset and south Somerset. The theme I set for this year’s day was Youth and Young people.
We all gathered in the Football Club car park from where I was able to talk about the newly refurbished MUGA, the longest mural in the country and the Football Club. We then walked along the river, taking a good look at the mural, to the Bridport Youth and Community Centre.
After some light refreshments there were presentations from:
Nick Goldsmith about The Bank of Dreams and Nightmares
Katrina Polanska, Heather Marston and Gemma Thorpe about the Bridport Youth and Community Centre
Rosie Russell about the work of the Lyric Theatre
Brian Hocking and the Colfox School Choir brought the visit to a beautiful conclusion.
Each of the presentations were inspiring and thought provoking and it was clear from conversations being held afterwards that those present were wondering how they could develop similar resources and the same level and quality of Town Council service and support in their own towns.
Prior to lunch in the Town Hall our Town Clerk Will Austin gave an overview of the work of the Town Council and how it supports the community. Then before we set off on our afternoon visits I took the opportunity to tell them about my hopes for the ‘Festival of Youth’ in 2023.
After lunch we boarded a coach to take us to our first destination Bridport Primary School where we looked at the recently refurbished Branden’s Trail and learned about how the school had become a UNESCO Rights Respecting School. Although there were staff present it was a very assured group of pupils who led the visit and told us all about the trail and the way in which the rights respecting values were embedded in all they do.
Our next port of call was Seals Cove the recently opened indoor adventure centre. Driving onto an industrial estate does not prepare you for what is now inside a former industrial unit. Despite my best efforts I was not able to tempt any of the Mayors to have a go on the climbing wall. To say they were gobsmacked by what they saw and the quality to which it has all been put together would be an understatement.
Our last visit was to Skate and Ride Bridport’s indoor skate park. Once again we were on an industrial estate visiting an industrial unit that has become a mecca for young riders. The man behind this wonderful place and enthusiastic rider himself Robert Ridge, gave us a tour of the building whilst a young man who had arrived early straight from school demonstrated a few trucks on his scooter.
It was then time to return to the Football Club car park to say good bye for another year. It is fair to say that our visitors left blown away by what Bridport already has and thinking about how they could emulate at least some of what they had seen in their own towns.
I am afraid you will have to wait until my next Blog for images of the Civic Day.
AND FINALLY – THIS WEEK’S MAGIC TENNER FOCUS
There is something to eat, wear and have a go at this week so go out and give them a try.
West Bay Canoes – West Bay
Businesses working with or supplying include: 1st West Bay Sea Scouts , Bridport Harbour (West Bay), Dorset Council (Tourist Information), Baboo Gelato West Bay, West Beach Café, Windy Corner Café, Bay Paddleboarding ,m Anchors Away, Seaside Saunas (Seatown), South Coast Canoes (Independent Dorset retailer for paddle sports supplies), Kingston Maurward College (Outdoor Adventure Department)
Tortilla Cantina – East Street
Businesses working with or supplying include: Rawles, Washingpool Farm, Footeprints, AJ supplies, Fruits of the Earth, G R Edwardes Electrical Contractors, Leakers Bakery, Local bands, Local poets and artists
Symondsbury Kitchen – Symondsbury
Businesses working with or supplying include: Phoenix, Boiler Man, Creater Leisure, Proactive Pest Prevention, Simon Moore, Toddle Farm Tents, Dorset Fine Dining, Palmers Brewery, Furleigh Estate, Moore’s Biscuits.
My thanks to Scott Morrison Anne Bark, Will Austin for the images used in this Blog