Coming to terms with having no car

For some time, I have been thinking about how I could manage without a car in order to reduce my carbon footprint but living outside the urban area it is not as easy as I would like. However, this year I have been forced to confront the issue because I am not able to drive until I have successful cataract treatment.

Some of the issues facing those unable to drive are simple ones, others are more difficult. Moving to public transport requires a different mindset. Timing trips and planning ahead become important. It is necessary to anticipate longer journey times, difficult connections and to realise that spur of the moment activities are impractical. It is difficult to attend evening and Sunday meetings. Everything takes much longer.

Nevertheless, the 101 bus service has been a lifeline. It will divert to pick me up to go into Devizes or Pewsey (handy for the station) but I can’t use it before mid-morning and there is no evening service. The drivers are friendly and helpful and passengers often know each other which makes journeys pleasant. It is of little help to anyone needing to get to work so most of the passengers are retired people. It doesn’t connect well with train services either and it no longer goes into the station which must be difficult for disabled passengers.

Bus Route 101

My alternative route into Devizes is via the 49 bus: I have a 15 minute walk up the lane to the stop and would not like to do it in the dark but I appreciate it during daylight. It doesn’t operate late enough for evening return journeys in any case.

It’s a circular problem, people don’t use public transport because it isn’t convenient and unless you have a bus pass or rail card, is expensive especially if you have a car too. But unless people use the service there is no incentive to improve it.

We need to decide what public transport is intended to achieve. It allows those who don’t drive for whatever reason to get about. Being able to get about easily facilitates social interaction and reduces isolation. Better public transport could take cars off the road and reduce pollution and carbon emissions. As we become more aware of climate change this is an important consideration.

I’m still in the position of thinking I may be able to drive again so haven’t yet come to terms with a permanent reliance on public transport or lifts from family and friends. Maybe I’ll decide not to do so. In the meantime, I am grateful that the 101 is available.

Plant Swap May 2021

The venue for this year’s plant swap was the forecourt of St Andrew’s Church and despite the showers was very successful. A steady stream of people visited the stall which sported an eclectic mix of plants. There were maybe around 30 visitors to the stall during the morning. Plants on offer included vegetable seedlings, ornamental cuttings and house plants. Seeds have got off to a slow start this year due to the very cold spring and many seedlings were still much smaller than would normally be expected. I (Jacky) picked up two tomato plants which were marginally further advanced than the ones I am growing at home but the essence of being a gardener is hopefulness. There’s always next year if things don’t work this time.

PlantSwap2021

As always, there was no charge for the plants taken but donations were welcome and over £100 was received towards future activities. Many thanks to those who brought plants to share and also to those who came to look and take plants to grow on.

People seemed pleased to be able to meet and discuss the plants and meet in a relatively normal way. For members of Sustainable Devizes, it was an opportunity to meet face to face for the first time in some cases.

Newsletter April 2021

It has been a while since our last newsletter and although we have been in the depths of winter and lockdown there has been a steady tick over of activity in the planning group.  We are now looking forward to the arrival of Spring and the easing of lockdown. Quite a few of us have been attending the Salisbury Transition City training led by Naresh Giangrande co-founder of the Transition Network.  Over 10 weekly sessions Naresh gave us valuable insights into the Transition Network and how to build the movement in our community.  One of the things that we learnt is that it's not just about doing but we need to get to know and understand each other.  It has been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to meet face to face let alone socialise.  For our next online meeting we are going to run it in 2 parts:  Business and an online social event.  [The meeting was on 12th April so has now been and gone]

 

Cycle Friendly Devizes

The cycling group has been busy plotting routes and planning how to celebrate National Bike Week.  With some COVID-19 restrictions in place the celebration of Bike Week will be low key with a few small group rides to follow the cycle tracks around town being run on Sunday 30 May.  Follow the Cycle Friendly Devizes facebook page for more details.

We are exploring going into partnership with Love Devizes and Indie Devizes to run a cargo bike service.  The idea is that local retailers and community groups will be able to make use of a delivery service using cargo bikes instead of motor vehicles.  With human and electric power, a cargo bike can move up to 150kg.  We will start with volunteers but the aim is to grow the service so that it can provide paid employment.

Picture:Co Delivery Ltd. 

 


Growing in Devizes

Following on from our experiment with Incredible Edible last year we have started up ‘Growing in Devizes’ with the aim of promoting all types of plant growing: flowers, wild flowers, food and planting trees.  Unsurprisingly the virtual seed swap had a muted response but we are planning a plant swap in May once mingling is allowed.  We have identified a couple of potential plots where we can plant vegetables around the town but we need to grow our band volunteers to help with planting.  If you are interested in any sort of growing around the town please join our next meeting on Mon 19 April at 7:30pm, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


As a community group we are supporting the campaign to ‘Protect Drews Pond Wood Area’ to designate the area as a “Local Green Space” in the Neighbourhood Plan.  As a group we will be writing to formally express our support for the campaign but it will greatly help the case if all our supporters individually signed the petition and answered a short questionnaire which can be found here.