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WHAT IS THWAC?

After spirited resistance to Scottish Coal’s plans to mine Mainshill, the site of yet another proposed mine in South Lanarkshire has been occupied by The Happendon Wood Action Camp (THWAC).

The beautiful Happendon Woods now serves as a base from which to organise in surrounding communities and to take action from, as well as dig in for the long-haul and prevent open cast mining from happening in the area. The October gathering was held as an opportunity for people to come and visit the site and see what is going on for themselves.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE OCTOBER GATHERING?

From the 1st to the 4th of October The Happendon Wood Action Camp (THWAC) held a gathering at the newly established site in South Lanarkshire. People came from all around to be at the camp for the long weekend and took part in lots of different site based activites.

On Saturday a community biodiversity walk (pictured above) of the site led by a group of ecologists from Edinburgh took place. There was tea and cake before the walk and about 40 people attended. The walk was very informative and many interesting species, including ‘devil’s bit scabius’ and ‘wood sorrel’ which are indicator species of butterflies and ancient woodland, were pointed out to people.

Although it was a wet old Saturday this didn’t stop people from getting stuck in, helping out with the many important jobs needed to keep site running, and taking part in workshops (treehouse workshop pictured left).

“On the first day I went on the biodiversity walk, helped re-organise the kitchen, did an abseiler refresher (it’s been 15 years since the last time!), climbed trees and helped build treehouses” said Scoutt, activist and musician from Edinburgh.

On Saturday evening people relaxed around the fire pit to the sounds of acoustic guitar, talking and singing.

The next day the sun came out and a few informal workshops were held, during which people shared site based skills with each other. “On Sunday I practised tying knots, square lashing, walkways, and helped to build the site tool shed” reported Scoutt.

Sunday also saw the team of ecologists from Edinburgh set up the first phase of an ecological study to establish whether or not red squirrels live in Happendon woods (pictured right).

As Joseph Laurence a radical ecologist tells us “Studies from 1995 reveal that red squirrels did indeed once inhabit this beautiful woodland, and the survey will tell us whether or not they still do. This information will be just one more tool in our belts to use against Scottish Coal in our fight to prevent them from open casting the wood”

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