The Dwelling

Spencer Murphy

Spencer’s new project ‘The Dwelling’ tells the story of a small community of woodland dwellers at Runnymede Eco Village, a place famous for the sealing of the Magna Carta.

He writes: ‘This year marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede, seen by many as the foundation of liberty and the basis for human rights laws that followed.

Just a few hundred metres from the site where The Great Charter was sealed lies a small community of woodland dwellers, who for one reason or another have decided to live off the grid. Three years ago they squatted the grounds of a disused Brunel University Campus and set up camp on its wooded hillside. With a supply of fresh running water, and food from a community allotment (bolstered by freeganism) they live as simple and sustainable an existence as they can.

Earlier this year as Magna Carta celebrations loomed the 30 or so permanent residents were served with notices to evict by Orchard Runnymede, a firm notorious for their heavy-handed approach in evicting the Dale Farm traveller site.

At a time when I was deep in the throws of attempting to buy my first flat in London, after over a decade of paying extortionate rents in the capital, I found myself escaping to the woods, just the other side of the M25, the city still a throbbing reminder on the horizon, and spending time with a group of people that collectively or individually had decided that that life wasn’t for them and who wanted to live a more simple, sustainable existence, free from the ties of modern day living.

After time, once the novelty of eco communal living had worn off, what I found was an enchanting woodland full of poetry that reminded me of my youth and a group of people with all the same hopes and fears as any of us have at our core but perhaps less trivial stresses distracting them from what is important.

Residents were served with notices to evict by Constant and Co (on behalf of Orchid Runnymede), a firm notorious for the Dale Farm traveller site eviction.’ – Spencer Murphy

‘The Dwelling’ has been featured on It’s Nice That, click here to read the article!