Who are we and how did we start?

We're an enthusiastic group of around 100 families coming from all walks of life and a wide variety of ages. We started in the heady days of Richard Briers and the "Good Life", of course (over thirty years ago - how time flies!) but times have changed and we've come a long way since then.

Singleton Stand
Our first meeting was on 15th February 1978. No group quite like ours had ever been started before, and over 400 people attempted to crowd into a small village hall in Liss, Hampshire, to hear a talk by Lawrence Hills of the HDRA. We received enthusiastic support from many well-known figures who were at that time associated with self-sufficiency - from a telegram sending best wishes from the entire "Good Life" TV programme team, to visits from such as John Seymour, Katie Thear and Patrick Rivers. The group has been featured on television on two occasions, and also on Radio 4. We decided to celebrate our twentieth birthday by setting up this web site, in the hope that we may be able to help and advise others who share our concerns, and now we are heading for our thirty fifth!

Some of our early members were indeed dedicated to self-sufficiency in its more literal sense, and eventually relocated to live a hard but rewarding existence in places as far afield as Wales, the Scottish Islands and France. Nowadays the emphasis is on supplementing normal jobs while making the most of living in this lovely part of the country, rather than devoting all of one's time to becoming a peasant (which isn't quite the carefree existence it's made out to be!).

So today we represent a like minded group of people interested in taking steps toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. We enjoy monthly talks and demonstrations on a wide range of topics, some inform us, some entertain us, now and then something inspires us and you will find yourself taking that step towards a better quality of life. It may be something quite simple like learning to grow heritage potatoes in a tub, or from watching a traditional craft technique being demonstrated and explained.

During the summer we visit farms, gardens and other places of interest; the rest of the year meeting at the Triangle Centre.



Above: Members help to publicise the group (and sell some of their surplus produce to the public) at various well-attended shows, such as the Rare Breeds Show at Singleton Open Air Museum.

Left: one of our members with his tractor at a vintage harvesting event.

Read our November 2008 newsletter for the full article about our formation and history by our chairman Dru.