Heartwell is a fully mutual housing co-operative, owned and run by it’s member tenants. This means we have shared control over what happens on site – what improvements are made, how the land is managed, and how we spend our money. We all have an equal say in decision making and aim for consensus before taking action on anything. Although we can individually choose to invest financially in the co-op, wealth does not confer power of any sort – to move on, all you need financially is to be able to pay a small monthly rent and bills. Ultimately our property is secured long-term as an accessible, collectively run project outside of the private ownership paradigm. We are part of a larger co-operative network called Radical Routes with radical political objectives that aims to challenge capitalist systems of hierarchy, exploitation and ‘money as power’. Radical Routes exists to provide comprehensive support for new and established co-ops, which includes long term loans for purchasing property. You can learn more at www.radicalroutes.org.uk.
Heartwell has planning permission as a travellers site, accommodating all kinds of live in vehicles and caravans on an area of hard standing with several electricity hook-up points. We live gently with the aim of keeping the site beautiful and unpolluted. We have our own water source, and a stream borders one side of the property. We have a hive of bees, and are beginning to introduce more grass and wildflower species to make our meadow area more diverse. Our situation as a co-operative travellers site is a unique one in the UK, and one of our aims is to operate as a legal model for other land based projects. We love our land and lifestyle and would like to see more co-ops like this setting up around the country.
Heartwell is about 4 miles north of the small and vibrant market town of Totnes, in South Devon. Our site borders conventionally farmed agricultural land and is close to electricity pylons – this is important to consider if you are interested in living here.