We are well into the new year, and Yorkley Court is still here, living and growing on the land. 2015 was a year dominated by the possibility of unjust eviction, and yet we have survived thanks to our determination to fight for what is right, and also thanks to the support and help we have received from hundreds of people in the local area. And yet, despite surviving, 2015 was a difficult year in many ways – the amount of time and resources we could allocate to farming was curtailed by the immediate necessity to protect ourselves and the land we are on. Furthermore, we were forced into building our famous tower at our front gate, which, while impressive, completely blocks vehicle access. 2016, we hope, will be a year of moving forward from these problems and developing our situation at Yorkley Court for the better.
Remember that this is only possible because of the Forest of Dean – both the people and the place. The Forest also had an interesting 2015, not least with regards to fracking. The district council, in October, took the unprecedented step of unanimously voting in favour of a motion in which they declared their opposition to this terrible process. And yet in December the government granted a licence to two companies to start ‘exploratory drilling’ in and around the Forest. It would appear that the government has disabled all the democratic options which could allow a local population to stop this process – and so the people of the Forest can rely on nothing other than themselves. We at Yorkley continue to declare our support for the Foresters in this struggle.
We would like to reassure the people of the forest that while Yorkley Court is a home to us, we also want it to be yours. We have always intended for it to be a ‘community farm’. So please come down and visit, pretty much anytime – especially during our open day and workshop events! (We have one planned for February, announcement soon. We also encourage people to think about the possibility of using the land at Yorkley Court for their allotment space.) Ring the number that is displayed at the gate if there is no-one to let you in.
We hope you had a great festive season and hope to see you soon down on the farm.