We Recommend……The Ness T-shirt…..From ‘Right to Roam’…..

by Bernie Bell - 09:32 on 19 April 2024


We Recommend….

Readers of m’blog might remember this….


As Mike has his leg in a cast, he can’t drive. I haven’t driven for years as my eye-sight is too bad. We’ve managed short-term confinement to barracks before now, but he’s not likely to be able to drive for about 6 weeks. 

On Wednesday we were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century - went on-line and ordered shopping from the Co-op. We were told that our supplies would arrive sometime between 10 and 4 the next day.

Thursday morning, we had a phone call from the man in the Co-op van, saying he’d be with us in 20 minutes - and he was. He brought all the shopping in and left the bags in the kitchen for easy access. On un-packing the bags – it was all there - everything we’d ordered, and …the fruit & veg were what we would have chosen ourselves.

We thoroughly recommend the Co-op delivery service. We’ll probably need to use it a few more times before Mike can drive again – all v. good.

Between good-neighbours and the Co-op – we’ll manage.  It’s given us some insight into how folk who are in similar situations long-term have to adjust, adapt…….and accept.

Depending on the weather, Mike has started to walk round the garden to get a bit of air – I wrote this after yesterday’s outing….

Mike’s Wind Flute

Mike’s on metal crutches

Which have holes

In them

When he ventured out

The holes caught the wind

And played him a tune.

BB April ‘24  


The Ness T-shirt…


But I can’t help wondering what it’s saying!  Could be…anything!....



From ‘Right to Roam’…..

“Dear Roamers,

It’s finally here: Wild Service, the book we’ve been beavering away on – our campaign’s vision for a new culture of connection and care, the feeling beneath the thinking for why we need access to the natural world.

The book officially launches next week, April 24th, on the 92nd anniversary of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass – though (fittingly) it has already been spotted in the wild. There’s a discount code and link to the pre-order page at the bottom of this newsletter. But why did we write it, and why should you care?

In just about every interview, debate, panel discussion, or public meeting we have about access, one phrase has been repeated over and over again. You’ll have heard it yourselves. “It’s all well and good you asking for rights”, the opponent will say, puffed up with self-importance, “but don’t you know that rights come with responsibilities?” This platitude, delivered the way a headteacher might admonish a child, is intended to signal two things. First, that the utterer is beyond reproach (not like those other people, who mustn't be trusted). Second, that responsibility is in some way contrary to rights: something burdensome, a slammed brake on the anarchic carnage which would be unleashed if ordinary people were given the slightest whiff of statutory power. Never that responsibility - real responsibility - might be the very thing we’re searching for.

It always grates our bones. Why? Because no one in the room needs reminding that rights are always qualified. But more importantly, because we have created a culture which systematically denies people the opportunity to be responsible for their environment. Indeed, making it unlawful to experience much of what is around us is a fundamental feature of that denial. Responsibility derives from response. Without access there’s simply nothing to respond to. Nothing to be responsible for.

Yet in the past decade we’ve been seeing exactly what communities will do when they are given that chance. I live just north of the River Wye, which has become an emblematic case in our efforts to confront the degradation of our rivers. Today, the polluters, regulators and the government are all on the back foot as they scramble to assuage the wrath of a powerful grassroots campaign comprised of thousands of ordinary people who know their river and are fighting to defend it; converting decades of finger-felt love into profound acts of service.

Those acts were possible because the River Wye is one of the 3% of rivers with a statutory right of navigation, with widespread, historic rights of way stretching along most of its riparian banks. This river is a player in thousands of people’s lives. It is worked deep into their hearts. So when the regulators and polluters were busy saying “nothing to see here”, local people knew better. No one describes positive examples like these as an ‘access story’ – but that’s precisely what they are.

Access itself does not guarantee everyone will become a citizen scientist, or a river protector, or a wildlife defender, overnight. But we cannot build a deep, widespread culture of environmental guardianship without it. As we researched the book we found so many examples across the country of people who have said ‘enough!’ to the environmental damage they encounter on their doorstep, and began acting, with neither ownership nor permission, to contest and reverse it.

Wild Service attempts to give those acts a story, and give its work a name. More – it explores how these small, inspired examples can be rewoven into something bigger: a national story encompassing every community across our country, which connects the dots between the decline of our ecosystems and the crisis of connection we see everywhere.

Thankfully, we are not alone. All around the world, indigenous ideas are being gifted and spread. Concepts like the Rights of Nature are weeding their way into our staid, legalistic systems. Words like ‘guardianship’ and ‘reciprocity’ are percolating back into our common culture. We have received those words gratefully. This book is our attempt to make them sing.

Order the Book

You can pre-order a copy of the Wild Service here, or through your local independent bookshop (several have received early release editions!). Our supporters have been offered an exclusive 20% discount code if you order through Bloomsbury UK (our publisher): just enter WILDSERVICE20 at the checkout. The code is valid until April 22nd. All royalties go directly towards funding the campaign.

Pre-orders make a huge difference to the exposure the book receives on release. So if what we’ve written excites you (or Nick’s beautiful illustrations entice you) consider grabbing a copy in advance. The higher up the charts it is when it launches, the harder it is to ignore and the further we can spread the message: that a new environmental culture, seeded through access reform, is on the cusp of being born. We just need to give it the chance to flourish.

Join the Wild Service Book Club

If you’d like to read along with us, we’re hosting a free online reading group every fortnight, with each of our contributors in conversation with someone exciting. We held our introductory session last night, which you can rewatch on YouTube here.

We’ll be kicking off on April 30th with Chapter 1: Reconnection, featuring Wild Service co-editor Jon Moses (that’s me) in conversation with Jay Griffiths, author of Wild, Kith, Why Rebel and many other brilliant texts. You can sign up here.

From Jon, 

on behalf of the Right to Roam team & Wild Service contributors.

P.S – we’d like to say a huge thankyou to everyone who responded to our recent call out for donations. It’s a tricky period for small organizations as many people understandably cut back on their spending while the country navigates tricky economic times. Your contributions make a big difference to our ability to keep going.

To follow us on social media:

Twitter: @Right_2Roam
Instagram: right.2roam

Facebook: right2roam

To donate to the campaign:

Click the button below or visit:


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