Trip to ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’ – Inspiration !

Seven intrepid Hexham Transitioners eventually went on a minibus to Todmorden last week and came back inspired by their adventure. Here are just a few comments  – Photos to follow

Incredible Edible, a small group of people deciding that they could make a difference to “change the world with kindness.” The abiding message that I was left with was kindness. Estelle was our gentle tour guide, passionate, funny, humble…she must have conducted tours on numerous occasions, but her enthusiasm was palpable. Having her tell her story convinced me of the potential of a few dedicated and committed people can make to bring about change on such a dramatic scale. Transformation: – the place & it’s people – through tangible inclusive action.

Very simple really just three things – community, business and education – and they started with food because everyone eats! Not an exclusive thing: ‘If you Eat, you’re In’.

Stories have the power to ignite the soul…If you are sitting comfortably I will begin. Remember all the produce is free, yes free, a bit of counter culture going on there. One Sunday morning  a working party was making its way to a site where two youngsters were helping themselves to fruit, filling a bag, lots of fruit, caught in the act you might say.

‘We’ve been doing this for you, you can have it’, the working party explained.

 The boys took some convincing that if they wanted the fruit that was fine so long as it was for eating. So utterly overwhelmed were they by the suggestion that they could actually keep the fruit that they remained and helped weed. Little actions can bring about behavioural changes, simple powerful stuff.

Todmorden isn’t a rich place – it’s normal, even poor – but what they have going on there is pure gold. I’m a convert. I left with more hope than when I arrived…I have a sense of longing to continue to develop and build on what we already have going on here in Hexham.  Richard

Our eyes were opened! And on our return to Hexham, we found ourselves looking at dismal pieces of Council planting and filling them in our imaginations with Todmorden – style herbs, leaves, and fruit trees, all full of colour and interest. And it gets better because not only can the residents of incredible, edible Todmorden look at them but they are encouraged to pick them, eat them, and put them in their salads and stews.

Estelle, the dynamic inspiration behind the idea, gave us a wonderful tour of the town, with every raised bed or planting yielding its own story through her rapid telling of how it came into being and how it continues to flourish.

Earning social capital was a new concept to some of us, but it is certainly happening in Tod. Rosemary

A great inspirational day out  !  Todmorden certainly has made an impact on the UK environmental movement and shown what is possible. .

What struck me most was not the planting but the enthusiasm of the organisers and the tremendous amount of organisation and fundraising involved – all by volunteers. From small beginnings in just 5 years they have had a very valuable number of spinoffs involving schools,  local business, police etc. There has also been an unexpected spin off of ‘green tourists’ – some of whom were us ! check out the incredible edible film at

All plantings are well signed with large signs explaining that the food is free,
planted especially for bees etc. Essential for spreading the word .

Hexham has made a good start in local food production with its community gardens, farmers market, apple days, food festival etc. The success of Incredible edible Todmorden is due, I think, to its volunteers and its publicity machine. We need to do more public planting and in particular more publicity about our work – only that way can we really get the message about local food across to everyone in Hexham.   Sue

Interested in hearing more ?  Come along to the next Transition general meeting , July 3rd, 7.30pm in the Forum café.



EU and cycling: you and cycling

The European Cycling Federation (ECF) recently met with Siim Kallas, the EU Commissioner for Transport, calling for the EU to give priority to cycling in its transport policies and funding. Currently 7% of Europeans choose the bicycle as their main mode of transport but don’t receive an equitable proportion of the transport budget.

The ECF has been repeatedly pushing the EU to invest more in cycling, demanding 10% of transport subsidies be earmarked for cycling so that 15% of all trips are done by bicycle by 2020. The European Commission has repeatedly called for more active forms of transport. The EU White Paper on Transport demands a “transition from a primarily car based personal mobility in cities to a mobility based on walking and cycling” and no more conventionally-fuelled cars in cities by 2050.

Continue reading “EU and cycling: you and cycling”

Hexham Town Plan Visioning Event Results!

Hexham Town Plan Visioning Event Results!

It was great to hear so many people saying what they most valued about Hexham and sharing ideas about how we can become a more sustainable community.

There were getting on for a hundred people who gave up their Sunday afternoon to describe their vision for how they wanted Hexham to be in ten years time.

Here are the bullet points that the Economy Working Group presented to set the scene for the discussions.

How can Hexham change to:

  • become more self-sustaining, self-reliant and resilient
  • make the most of the Town’s existing strengths and resources
  • provide an environment to develop positive ways to adapt

The influence of Transition Tynedale was there in all the discussion groups and the feedback highlighted many specific ideas regarding transport, the built environment, arts and heritage. Detailed results will be published soon and the next phase will be concerned with the future health and welfare of our community.

What is your vision for sustainable Hexham?

Speak out for the Transition Towns movement at Hexham Town Council Visioning Day on 24th June 2pm at Queens Hall.

Like it or not the Town Council is our link to Northumberland County Council and they collect and spend our Council Taxes. It really matters who our local and county councilors are and what they believe matters to you.

Please come along and bring your vision for Hexham to the debate! There will be workshops where you can discuss your concerns and argue for Hexham to become an even better place for our children and grandchildren. This is all about how we can take positive action now to prepare for the challenges ahead.

If we can generate a critical mass of people in Hexham who understand the need for change our Transition Movement could go whooshing up the agenda.

What is your concern for the future sustainability of Hexham?

We also need to be there listening so that we can adapt our activities to be realistic and appealing to the general public.