On the way out of Newbury we will pass the old Greenham Common airbase and pause at the gate where there is a Commemorative Garden at 09:30 to remember the women who set up the peace camp there back in the early 80s.
They were protesting against the installation of US cruise missiles at the base. This was seen as a major escalation of the cold war and a threat to world peace. The women resisted repeated attempts to evict them, practiced many forms of non-violent direct action, attracted world-wide attention to the issue and gave impetus to a mass protest movement.
Although cruise was briefly deployed at Greenham, the burgeoning peace movement across Europe ultimately forced the USA and USSR to the negotiating table and cruise (and the equally contentious pershing missiles on the west german border) were withdrawn.
NVDA can be effective, and the Greenham women should be an inspiration and strengthen today’s activists travelling to London to rebel against another existential threat.
Leaving Greenham by 10:00 we will pass by both the Aldermaston and Burghfield nuclear weapons establishments – bells will be rung.
It is 40km to Reading from Newbury and we have a long day so we need to push along and try and get there for an early lunch. Likely to also be a brief lunch as there are still some 70km to go to get to Hyde Park – at least they will be flat.
The precise route is open to debate as we need to find a way to penetrate the city through the transition where urban and rural face each other across wasteland and desolate zones as they do battle.
One such iconic battle is currently taking place around Sipson where the Heathrow Grow Local project has recently been evicted – we hope to visit them for a brief regroup before tackling the last 25km into the heart of the beast.
Earth Marchers and Rebel Riders from all over are converging at Marble Arch corner of Hyde Park in the late afternoon. We aim to be there too…