News December 2015

Our AGM in Kasteale café on Nov 18th was well attended. The Chair's report highlighted our two major, successful projects of 2015:

  • The Scale of Sustainability. Four films and meetings exploring architecture, homes and community, in partnership with Haltwhistle Film Project.
  • Verges and Pollinators. Several activities contributed to this initiative including a joint meeting with South Tynedale Wildlife group, a seed swap at the Haltwhistle Plant Festival and three botanising verge walks.

The treasurer's report was clearly presented. We have a little less in the bank than we did a year ago and will have to raise funds before embarking on any expensive projects, however, many of our initiatives call for a very small amount of money! The office holders, chair (Sue Seymour), secretary (Jo Aris), and treasurer (Gill Cowell), are remaining in their positions and we decided to abolish the fixed committee idea, favouring instead ad hoc committees to manage specific projects. All meetings will be advertised in future newsletters and interested members will be invited to come along to help run particular projects - so anyone who volunteers is making a limited, rather than, open-ended commitment.

In 2016 we are again planning two major projects:

  • Verges and pollinators - we plan to continue with this initiative with a public meeting in the New Year and we'll be at Haltwhistle Plant Festival with a display, details of wildflower (and possibly pollinator) identification walks and a seed swap.
  • Visit Edible Gardens (VEG), we're very excited about this, self-explanatory, new idea! We hope to work with the gardening and allotment clubs in the area and people at the AGM had immediate suggestions of a host of bountiful, interesting and inspiring gardens to visit.

We'll surely also manage to fit in the occasional sustainability-themed film along the way, and possibly a visit to a passiv house too. Not to forget that biennial celebration of clipping time, Wool on the Wall, planned for July 10th 2016.

Leave coal in the ground!

Last week the Hexham Courant reported locals' concerns at Halton Lea Gate where opencast mining is set to commence as a result of permission granted three years ago, despite the proximity of the North Peninnes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

At the Climate Change march in Newcastle we were urged to register our objections to plans for another new opencast mine in the county, again abutting the boundaries of an AONB, this time in the beautiful Druridge Bay.

Info and petition to sign at:

Wood Pellet buying group
Michael West hopes to set up a wood-pellet buying group along the lines of an oil buying groups - a number of people in one locality agree to place individual orders through a group leader who is then able to negotiate a reduced price for everyone with the supplier. Contact Michael:

Sending any precious parcels through the post this Christmas?

One enterprising farmer has come up with a range of natural, void filling, packaging based on expanded maize (i.e. pop corn) instead of expanded polystyrene!

Jo Aris sent this review of her visit.

On entering this wonderful exhibition I immediately thought of our verges project, as the first thing I encountered was a display case of ten linen covered prayer books from the 1960's, each embroidered with wayside plants: oxytropis, teasel, fennel, ragged robin, ploughman's spikenard, silverweed, knapweed, ribwort plantain, pheasant's eye and yellow deadnettle. There's also stained glass depicting blackthorn and kidney vetch.

Other highlights for me were a white tablecloth embroidered in white silk, on one border with life sized peas, and on the other with beans; a rather lovely, particularly tall backed wooden settle with a quirky change of direction; an indigo dyed wool hanging with quite chunky, simple (sorry don't know the technical term) stitched daisy and (I'd like to think) gold-laced polyanthus; an installation by Rosa Nguyen using William Morris wallpapers Chrysanthemum Daisy, Pomegranate etc; a pear wood printing block for just the pink bits of a textile - the speckles on a thrushes breast, it's feet and a tulip. I was also both moved and amused by a note (and it's caption) from Morris to his wife before he headed off to Iceland.

There's a great section at the end with traditional and contemporary things to handle, including Sami birch birl cups, described as “a near perfect marriage of form, material, environment and function”. My thought was: where's the imperfection? And I'd like to know if anyone's got an opinion on this.

So, a must if you're interested in the making of beautiful, functional objects, and particularly the inter-relationship between art, ethics, politics and environment. I'd recommend going early in case, like me, you want to make more than one visit.
For opening times etc see:

If you come across any events, exhibitions or initiatives you think might interest STS people, please get in touch, and we'll enliven future newsletters.

Seasons greetings.

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359