Off The Grid: Photos Of Life Inside A Modern-Day Commune

Published July 1, 2015
Updated December 12, 2023
off the grid camp

The type of housing at Runnymede varies greatly.

Take a wrong turn on Twitter, and the idea of parting ways with modern technology for good becomes all the more appealing. While living off the grid is a passing thought for many, it’s actually a reality for some living just outside of London, England.

In some disused woodland 20 miles west of the city (and quite close to the place where the Magna Carta was signed) is an area known as Runnymeade, which also features an eco village that has been under the care of squatters since 2012. That is, until this past spring, when they were served an eviction notice.

off the grid dishes

No one likes to do dishes, but they DO get done.

off the grid communal fire

Gatherings around the fire are common.

off the grid mirror

Source: Photoshelter

Approximately 40 Runnymeade residents are being evicted at the behest of the Runnymeade property developer and the Magna Carta celebration committee. To the Diggers (what the eco village residents call themselves), such a scenario is ironic, as they are being pushed out by a group who celebrates the very document that over time became associated with protecting individual liberties from the wills of the more powerful.

off the grid fabric roof

off the grid angela

Angela. Source: Photoshelter

Said Digger Peter Phoenix, “[the area] is one of the most iconic, historic sites” in the country, and in court proceedings cited articles from the Human Right Act as his defense. Phoenix continued, “If a protest can’t be made by the Magna Carta land, where can it be made? Forty people walked out of London with the aim of creating off-grid dwellings or homes. They are all low-impact, all built from recycled materials. The removal of the defendants and others would breach human rights, it’s not lawful.”

off the grid arun

Arun. Source: Photoshelter

off the grid cooking

Their turn for cooking duty. Source: Photoshelter

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Kelly, Erin. "Off The Grid: Photos Of Life Inside A Modern-Day Commune.", July 1, 2015, Accessed June 16, 2024.