• The Tree People

    In 2000 the Midloathian Council proposed a re-alignment of the A701, a roadway that runs on the eastern edge of the village of Bilston, next to a protected ancient woodland, 7 miles south from Edinburgh, Scotland. The 're-alignment' entails creating a new dual carriageway to replace the existing roadway. The Bilston Glen protest started in June 2012. As a way to spare a large portion of the surrounding forest from being cut down, a number of people started to build houses on trees. They created a non-hierarchical woodland community, where the protestors live in tree-houses and a few ground structures, including a kitchen, communal areas and a stage to host a summer festival. Community members welcome anyone for a visit, for a cup of tea or a beer. No one knows how it happened. It could have been a knocked-over candle that set the tree-house on fire. In the beginning of 2011 24-year-old South African student Andrew Millhouse died victim of a fire that quickly escalated in the dead of night in the forest. The stumps of Andrew's hut still stand as a memento for the rest of the community. The Scottish government has donated fire alarms to the community which now keeps a number of water bottles close to each hut, should the need ever arise again.