Earth First! Winter Moot

Defending the Douglas Valley

Hambach Forest Ocupation

South Lanarkshire COALcil

Mainshill Zine

Coal in Scotland

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THWAC has been tatted down and is no longer occupying Happendon Wood. The closing statement is here.

Latest from the Campaign
Weekend Gathering 6th-10th November
Action Round-up of actions in the Douglas Valley
The Project
What is the Happendon Wood Action Camp?
What is the Camp calling for?

Safer Spaces Agreements

Where is the Camp?

Contact Us
Support Us


Latest News

What is “The Happendon Wood Action Camp”?

The Happendon Wood Action Camp (THWAC) was occupied on 12th September 2010 to resist the destruction of the Douglas Valley by Scottish Coal and SRG Estates. Its purpose is not just to prevent one development from taking place, but to act as a base for direct action against opencast mining and the fossil fuel infrastructure in the Douglas Valley area, one of Britain’s most intensive areas of fossil fuel production.

The Camp is not and will not be the end of our struggle. We will continue to resist this corporate greed and suppport the struggle for self-determination of communities affected by the coal industry. Corporate interest in fossil fuel extraction in the pursuit of profit continues to exploit, marginalize and destroy workers, communities and the environment internationally. Extraction industries and the companies behind them are responsible for the displacement of indigenous communities, and the repression, imprisonment, torture and murder of those who challenge this system across the world.

We recognise that in the UK we face less overt oppression than in many other countries, and so that our struggle is privileged. But this makes resistance all the more crucial — and sit means that solidarity, both locally and internationally, with communities struggling at every level against the destruction of their lives, home and planet, is a vital imperative.

What is the Camp calling for?

We aim:

  • To occupy the site and defend it against open casting;
  • To use the site as a base from which to organise within the community and build up the strength of local communities to oppose such projects and to take control of their environment and the decisions that affect them;
  • To occupy the site as an action camp that people are invited to come to, to take continuous direct action against infrastructure in South Lanarkshire;
  • To host community events and campaign meetings as well as providing a physical point of contact for people to get involved;
  • To take this biodiverse and ecologically important area of land from SRG and give it back to the community, initiating a community-led woodland programme to encourage and increase biodiversity.

We are calling for:

  • An end to open cast mines and coal infrastructure being imposed on communities;
  • A legally binding contract between surrounding communities and SRG/Scottish Coal that Happendon Wood and Long Plantation will not be open casted at any time;
  • The rejection of application CL/10/0180 by South Lanarkshire Council;
  • The protection of Happendon Wood as a local wildlife site with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) placed on the woodland;
  • The full restoration of Poniel and Dalquhandy open cast sites and Tinto Poniel sand and gravel quarry, according to SPP 247 and in line with previous planning consent conditions;
  • An immediate end to court proceedings by South Lanarkshire Council against the Douglas and Glespin Community Council;
  • The immediate commission of an independent health impact assessment into the effects of open cast coal mining on the health of surrounding communities by South Lanarkshire Council;
  • The replacement of the South Lanarkshire Rural Development Trust with a community-controlled fund with contribution levies set by the community. This fund would be contributed to by Scottish Coal for the 20 years of suffering they have already inflicted on communities in South Lanarkshire who would have full community control over the projects it funds.

Safer Spaces

The Happendon Wood Action Camp is striving to be a temporary autonomous space where everyone can feel safe and comfortable. To ensure that we look after ourselves, eachother and the environment which we are inhabiting; we have two safer spaces agreements.

Safer Spaces Agreement
It’s crucial that we do not recreate structures in our groups that would silence people who are already silenced in society. Instead, we aim to cultivate an atmosphere of open expression and active participation. To this end, Coal Action Scotland operates a safer spaces agreement in our meetings and at our events.
What a safer space is for
Oppression can happen at a political, social or personal level and typically occurs on the basis of ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, gender presentation, sexuality, age, income, ability, appearance, immigration, activist experience, and other forms of difference and inequality. A safer spaces agreement aims to create a space free from the experience of marginalisation and inequality that many people regularly face.
What a safer space means
A safer space is a dream and a vision of a better society, of what it could be like to feel supported, to feel autonomous, to feel free, and most of all to feel safer. In a safer space we recognise and respect that we experience things in different ways and that we have different ideas and ideals on how to make changes in the world. If we want to create a radical community then we have to question our learned behaviours and challenge others and ourselves. We need to work towards acting in ways that are respectful, and build a community of trust and support.
Creating a safer space
This is a space in which we agree to observe and uphold the following ideas:

– Everyone has an equal right to be heard & an equal responsibility to listen.
– Those who are perhaps used to doing the talking, may feel it benefits them to do more listening, and vice versa.
– However strongly you feel about a particular topic, do not allow a discussion to get abusive.
– Any behaviour (including body language and verbal language) that demeans, marginalises, dominates, or perpetuates hierarchies, is not tolerated.
– Identify your own privilege(s) and actively challenge them.
– Be aware of the range of different identities (gender, race, class) that people may identify as, and avoid making sweeping generalisations about people.
– Be aware that anyone in the space could be a survivor of a particular form of oppression, for example, violence & abuse.
– Anyone who is responsible for any kind of violence, intimidation, or harassment will by their behaviour exclude themselves from the space (meeting/event etc.)
– If someone is feeling uncomfortable, do not hesitate to say so.

It is everyone’s responsibility to challenge prejudice & oppression. This list is not exhaustive and it is up to all of us to help create a space where everyone feels safe and included.

Environmental Safer Spaces Agreement
The Environmental Safer Spaces Agreement applies to the natural environment we inhabit and also the environments that we create ourselves within it. It is intended to provide a starting point for the Happendon community to avoid the some of the problems that appeared at Mainshill.

-Respect for all life. Oppressive (destructive) behavior towards the environment leads to oppressive behavior appearing in the way we relate to each other. If we demonstrate a lack of respect and care for the environment(s) we inhabit, creating safer spaces in which we respect and care for each other becomes impossible.
-Responsibility for the land, but measured responsibility, it is better to do some damage than allow a coal mine.
-Identify and care for vulnerable areas/species, (As advised by the Community Ecology Group.) by identifying our impacts including waste, inhabited areas, noise, use of trees for building, burning and so on.
-Move to minimise these impacts in what ever way seems appropriate. For example, having a clean and easy way to move waste off site, establishing paths through woods.
-Consider effectiveness verses impact(e.g. Landfill barricades) with a view to tat down or eviction.
-Working with more toxic materials [e.g. paint] is confined to specific areas.

Where is the Camp?

Happendon Wood is near the villages of Douglas and Rigside, roughly 30 miles south of Glasgow, and about 10 miles from Lanark.
View Larger Map

We are next to the small road running north from the B7078. Look for the banners.

By Public Transport

The easiest way to get to THWAC by public transport is to get the train to Lanark and then get the bus. The bus leaves from the roundabout right next to the train station, and you want to service 259 or 9. The timetables for these are here. You should tell the driver you want to go to Uddington. The bus takes around 25 minutes. Keep an eye out for the sign saying you are entering Uddington. It’s a very small village, with only a few houses. After the second group of houses on your right you leave Uddington and go down a small slope towards a large roundabout. Press the button to get off the bus here.

Cross the road and walk to the roundabout and follow the duel carriageway going right, signposted for Coalburn. About 600m up this road take the small road on the right, signposted for Douglas Water. This road is unlit and cars travel fast down it so if it’s dark make sure you have a torch. Follow this road for about 800m and the camp is on the left. You will see the tripod, banner and front gate. Welcome!

If you get lost, call the site phone on 07806926040. Finally, if you would feel more comfortable having someone meet you at the bus stop and walk with you to site then please get in touch and we can arrange this.

Contact Us

Call the site phone on: 07806926040

Send letters to:

Happendon Wood Action Camp
Wolfcrooks Road
South Lanarkshire
ML11 9PA

Email us on: contact [at]

Support Us

Financial donations are very welcome – currently our only funding comes through donations and these are vital to keeping the campaign going. Here’s how you can support us financially:

Cheques can be sent payable to “Friends of Mainshill” to the following care-of address:

c/o Birkhill House, Coalburn
South Lanarkshire
ML11 0NJ

Our account details are as follows:

Name: Friends of Mainshill
Account number: 06002626
Sort code: 80 11 94

We are also always in need ofthe equipment and supplies which are essential for keeping the camp running. You can read our current wishlist below, and if you have material donations to make, call us on 07806926040

For building and defending the site:

  • Wooden pallets
  • Nails
  • Tools (of all kinds)
  • Tarpaulin
  • Building materials
  • Scaffolding
  • Carpets
  • Climbing equipment
  • Polyprop rope

For helping people stay on the site:

  • Duvets
  • Warm clothes
  • Socks
  • Waterproofs
  • Food
  • Coffee

For everything else:

  • Buckets
  • Dry newspaper
  • Candles
  • Paint and brushes

Join our announcements email list:

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