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Source: (consider it) Thread: Greenbelt 41 - returning to a green field
geroff
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# 3882

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I know it is really early to discuss Greenbelt 2014 but in view of the announcement that Greenbelt is moving back to Northamptonshire it probably warrants a new thread.
How do we feel about the return to green fields and marquees?

[ 13. November 2013, 19:41: Message edited by: geroff ]

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Heavenly Anarchist
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I'm really happy that it is in easy reach of home. As a veteran camper, I also like the idea of a more 'natural' environment, though I guess there are some reservations about how weatherproof it might be. But Kettering should be drier and more sheltered than Cheltenham anyway. They will need to ensure they get the accessibility right but I'm sure they are working hard on that.

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birdie

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I'm afraid I'm one of the people saying this might mark the end of our greenbelting days.

I think the two main issues the move brings up are the travelling distance (which obviously is going to be a good change for some and a bad one for others), and accessibility on a greenfield site.

If only one of those is a problem for you, you might well grit your teeth and give it a go anyway. For us, both are a problem. I was at Castle Ashby in the late 80s, early 90s and there's no way I'd take my kids to something like that - just too hard to get around, before you even factor in some of the other stuff we have to deal with. Then there's the increase in journey time from two hours to three and a half.

If the weather is torrential next year, and people report back that the site was miraculously unmuddy and easy to negotiate, we might think about going the year after, but I think we've ruled out next year.

I'm quite sad about it, but also I know for others it will work out much easier - that's always going to be the way it is!

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Emma Louise

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I don't think we'll be able to make it up there. Not that I blame them for moving it at all, and it will be good that those further north don't have to travel so much.

We've already bought tickets though. DO you think they'd give us a refund or will I have to sell them on? We weren't there this year so it was only after we bought tickets that we heard it might move.

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Heavenly Anarchist
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quote:
Originally posted by Emma Louise:
I don't think we'll be able to make it up there. Not that I blame them for moving it at all, and it will be good that those further north don't have to travel so much.

We've already bought tickets though. DO you think they'd give us a refund or will I have to sell them on? We weren't there this year so it was only after we bought tickets that we heard it might move.

Their site says they are refunding I think, look on the blog for a link to ticket information.

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Carys

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I'm wondering how it's going to pan out. The grandstand etc gave a good balance to the facilities and I gather were vital in 2012 (which I mainly missed due to work). Being further away from where I currently live is a pain, but it's nearer Cambridge and I did Greenbelt at Cheltenham from Cambridge. I suspect it will be smaller this year than last though as people give it a chance to bed in.

Carys

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The Weeder
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At this stage, I have decided not to go.

Too long a journey, none of the infrastructure we have had at Cheltenham Racecourse, and a question. Why has there been no discussion with we punters? I am an Angel, and have heard nothing except the announcement.

Mr Weeder hopes I will stick to my decision not to go. I had a massive anxiety attack one year at Cheltenham, and he had to come and take me home, to recover. Easy when it is in the same county, less so if it involves a long journey!

I have not discussed it with the God Family, beyond letting them know of the plans.

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Schroedinger's cat

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I think I did fill in a questionnaire about the location. The problem is, if you ask everyone, you will get 15000 different opinions. It is about balancing all sorts of stuff, and people can get even more annoyed if they are asked and their opinion is not taken!

I am going, having already booked tickets. I have (as mentioned on the previous thread) booked into the Holiday Inn Express. I am just hoping that they have access to the site from that side - that is not entirely clear yet.

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Heavenly Anarchist
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It must have been hard to find a location suitable for the size of Greenbelt, and for that weekend, they must have been looking for a while knowing that Cheltenham would probably not be available next year.

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iamchristianhearmeroar
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I'm really excited about it personally, as the centrecourse bit of the Cheltenham site was always my favourite. But I can understand that for those with mobility issues it could be much more difficult than Chelters.

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geroff
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Emma - there is a phone no on this page near the bottom somewhere.

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geroff
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Double post I am afraid - it looks as if Boughton House can do festivals - this is Alt Fest which is on a couple of weeks beforehand.
Hey - perhaps we should tell the 'GB has gone pagan' complainers that this is the date for GB and really give them something to moan about. [Devil] [Devil]

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by geroff:
Double post I am afraid - it looks as if Boughton House can do festivals - this is Alt Fest which is on a couple of weeks beforehand.
Hey - perhaps we should tell the 'GB has gone pagan' complainers that this is the date for GB and really give them something to moan about. [Devil] [Devil]

Looks like this is it's first run for that too (from the few lines in a duck-duck-go search for "alt fest" site map). Which foils that plan to try and guess what the layout is (and how it compares to roads, tracks etc...)
Hopefully they've not bitten off more than they can chew/know what to expect.

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Mrs Shrew

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I have been hoping to get back to greenbelt for the last couple of years, and I think this will finally push me to get organised and go. It will be a big change but exciting

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Uriel
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Having been to 20 of the last 21 festivals, I will be missing GB in 2014 and looking for a refund on my pre-bought ticket. This is partly because work next summer has become complicated, but mainly because the venue looks hard work with a family. I remember when they moved to Cheltenham, having had problems with a site that needed all the infrastructure putting in, and how much easier it was with all of the facilities on site at Cheltenham. I'm not sure how the site will cope if it gets heavy rain (as it did in 92, 97 and 2012) and the lush green lawns turn to mud. I could cope (up to a point) with the mud, wind and rain of events when I didn't have children in tow, and more recently managing with children has been easier with some indoor venues, the grandstand and a bit of buggy friendly tarmac.

Anyway, I look forward to September 2014 and hearing how it all turned out.

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Horatio Harumph
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I'm really very excited about the move for GB mostly because of their recommitment to vision and this paragraph :

'Our hope is that this move to a more rural location will remind us all of what is most important in life: not the stuff we have, but the spaces we make together and the relationships we build and the way we live together in those spaces'

I love the 'pitching tents instead of building in bricks and mortar' line too ...

I've seen a lot of mumbling on the Facebook, and twitter about travelling distances. Personally I'm happy that my 5 hour drive which became almost 9 this year because of the motorway will now just be a few hours.

I am SO excited about this, for Greenbelt.

However, I may be one of the casualties too ... having had to avoid the Jesus Arms/big top and play house venues this year just gone due to them being closed canvas tents on grass, and the scent rising, and my body being hypersensitive it looks like an all greenfield site may not be doable for me ...

Shall probably have to leave booking until last minute to see how well I am etc.

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Alan Cresswell

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# 31

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Greenbelt seemed to change a lot movign from a farm to a racecourse, the venue does makea lot of difference it seems, thuogh I couldn't quite place what the difference was. Part of it seemed that the regulars who enjoyed roughing it a bit more drifted away, and more people happier with more comforts came. I don't think it was the venue as such; I guess a farm right on the edge of town would have been much the same. The main factor seemd to be the availability of local accomodation so people didn't need to camp.

Northants is much more central. Travel time not really different for London, but significantly shorter for places north of Birmingham, so probably on average as easy or easier to get to than Cheltenham for the majority of the UK population (although, 15 years in Cheltenham would have skewed the geographic distribution of GBers relative to the general population).

If GB wasn't as unwelcoming of Scottish families as it has always been (except the first festival at Cheltenham) it would certainly be possible for me to get to in Northants with much greater ease.

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Lucia

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I'm curious Alan, in what way is Greenbelt unwelcoming of Scottish families? Is it because the Monday is not a public holiday in Scotland?

Sadly I don't think we will be in the UK at the right time next year to go to Greenbelt. I really enjoyed the last one, however that may in part have been due to being able to attend unencumbered by children in tow, therefore allowing us to participate much more in the programme of talks and music!
Most of my Greenbelt days in the past were at Deene Park and we only returned to Greenbelt for the last 3 years after a ten year gap. I'll be interested to see how it works now in its new location.

[ 15. November 2013, 09:02: Message edited by: Lucia ]

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Lucia:
I'm curious Alan, in what way is Greenbelt unwelcoming of Scottish families? Is it because the Monday is not a public holiday in Scotland?

The main problem is that it's after the start of the school year. The distance to Cheltenham didn't help. If I was to take my children to Cheltenham we'd need to get going Thursday morning, overnight on the way (we stopped somewhere in Staffordshire the couple of times we did it) to get there in time to find a camp spot and pitch tent before it gets past bedtime for the wee ones. Leaving Tuesday morning, getting back late on Tuesday night. That's Thur, Fri, Mon and Tues out of school, plus exhausted on Wed because of a long journey and a late night.

Northants would be easier (could probably skip the overnight, and get back an hour or two earlier on the Tuesday). Probably easier when the children are older (not so early to bed, plus help pitching and taking down tent), but then taking them out of school is harder.

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Jack the Lass

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I don't know if we'll be there or not - we will have other family stuff to go to around that time and it might be that two long journeys down south is just too much. But I am happy that they are moving somewhere so close to my parents (less than 7 miles away, according to Google) so if we go and find we have to wimp out we will have somewhere to stay! Alan is right though, the timing isn't good for Scottish residents with families, so once our wee one starts school that might well spell the end of GB for us for a while. We will probably make more of an effort to go to Solas though instead.

There has been a lot of upset on the facebook discussions about the move, and I can totally understand apprehension about the accessibility issues in particular. But I think the thought that went into making Cheltenham accessible this year given the parts of the site that were still unavailable due to the 2012 swamp shows that it is something they will work really hard at, so I'd like to give it a try before dismissing it. I do wonder if, whilst Cheltenham was great for access because of the buildings/concrete bits etc, for those of us with no mobility/disability/other issues it just made us more 'comfortable'. Of course I'd rather sit on a porcelain loo than a hole in a plank of wood over a cesspit, but being shaken out of my comfort zone for a weekend would probably be no bad thing. Having to ration phone use because there aren't handy charging points would probably be a very good thing! And if the greenfield site attracts people back who had perhaps felt it had become too 'safe' at Cheltenham, then that's a good thing too.

We have been to WOMAD a few times over the last few years, which is also on a greenfield site. I realise it wouldn't be accessible for everyone, but I saw plenty of prams, wheelchairs etc and lots of access provision, so I suppose I am coming from a perspective of it *can* be done. The challenge is to see how well GB do it, having got so used to Cheltenham where a lot of the infrastructure was there year-round.

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geroff
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I am sure that it is not a coincidence that Alt-Fest is on a couple of weeks before - it might be that the stage can stay on site and a lot of other practical stuff.
The move to Cheltenham seemed ( at the time) to be a stop gap solution when all other options had fallen apart, including teaming up with Spring Harvest and having a separate youth event - there had to be a lot of reinventing of GB to make a racecourse work.
It is the fact that GB constantly reinvents itself that keeps us going every year. it will be my 36th greenbelt. [Help]

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mark_in_manchester

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quote:
There has been a lot of upset on the facebook discussions about the move
I can understand this.

I have some, perhaps rather tangential, connection with those who have had to make this decision to move. I would want to be fairly oblique about this - but I think it might be fair to say that GB have enjoyed a period of really quite surprisingly supportive relations with what is, after all, a big-business corporate-style venue. And, as personnel change, it might be the case that the climate might also change to something more commercial where 'normal rules apply', and this might make the case for continuing as before look rather different to however things might have seemed, previously.

I say this to suggest that the move, whilst being quite rightly publicised in very positive and deliberate terms, perhaps involves some strong 'push' factors which might be some consolation to anyone feeling that the festival might be gaily leaving them behind for pastures new.

cheers
Mark

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Rev per Minute
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
There has been a lot of upset on the facebook discussions about the move, and I can totally understand apprehension about the accessibility issues in particular. But I think the thought that went into making Cheltenham accessible this year given the parts of the site that were still unavailable due to the 2012 swamp shows that it is something they will work really hard at, so I'd like to give it a try before dismissing it. I do wonder if, whilst Cheltenham was great for access because of the buildings/concrete bits etc, for those of us with no mobility/disability/other issues it just made us more 'comfortable'.

ISTM that the way GB made this year's festival accessible was by using for official venues only the parts of the site that were tarmaced, leaving the fields to the lighter footprint of campers. That suggests that a wholly greenfield site would become more of a problem in what is fairly common Bank Holiday weather in Southern Britain. (Alan - other than Easter and Christmas holidays, what other Bank/Public Holidays does Scotland share with England & Wales that could be used for Greenbelt?)

As for Boughton, it's scarcely more central than Cheltenham - it is, however, closer to London and just off the M1. (While Cheltenham is an hour from home, Kettering is about 3hours from here.) From what has been said elsewhere, altFest will be held on a different part of the estate so GB could not use the same stage or infrastructure at the end of August. Cheltenham had some roads into the camping areas, Boughton may not: will that mean everyone doing a Glastonbury and parking far from the campsite, carrying all their kit? Hardly family-friendly, if so.

All the talk is of 'lush green lawns' and 'wide views', suggesting few or no permanent buildings. Remember that Greenbelt is not Glasto, we do not have hordes of youngsters willing to wallow in mud and lose their tents in the chaos: this is a very mixed festival with a wider age spectrum and many people who stay off-site. Even if Kettering is not a one-horse town, it is at least five miles from the town to the festival site - not much chance of locals or day visitors, I think.

Because we have family an hour or so away, we think that we will go next year to see. The children will be 13 and 16, so they are not going to be a problem for getting around (if we ever see them, of course), but we are far from sure that the 'new' Greenbelt will be as good for us as it was in Cheltenham.

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Auntie Doris

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# 9433

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The move adds about an hours driving time for us once we have hit mainland UK. I guess in many ways it doesn't make much difference for us as we have already had to get a boat to get there. Much like the Scottish residents we have to stay over Thursday and Tuesday night, but we accept that is how it is.

I am really excited about the move as I think the venue looks beautiful. However, I think we have pretty much decided that we won't be going next year, but we had already decided that before the announcement of the move.

The cost for us to get to Greenbelt is pretty high - the boat already costs about £400 and then we have to pay for accommodation, tickets etc etc. So, for next year we will probably have a fortnights holiday in France for the same price as a trip to Greenbelt. I suspect I will spend all bank holiday weekend regretting not being there though!

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Rev per Minute:
(Alan - other than Easter and Christmas holidays, what other Bank/Public Holidays does Scotland share with England & Wales that could be used for Greenbelt?)

That's not a particularly easy question to answer. Most parts of Scotland have public holidays that aren't shared with other parts of Scotland, let alone England and Wales. And, the start/end of school will vary in different parts of Scotland too (though generally with the summer break finishing sometime in August). The first and last weekend in May would probably be the only bank holidays common throughout the UK (excluding Christmas and Easter).

I'm not entirely sure a Bank Holiday weekend is vital. It gives an extra day without taking annual leave. But, to stay the whole weekend most people (ie: those unable to get there in <1h or so) will be taking Friday and Tuesday as holiday anyway. It's really the school dates that are the biggest difficulty. Even those without children, or not taking their children, it's inconvenient at work when you're already a week or two past the end of the summer slow-time, when most people take their holidays.

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Schroedinger's cat

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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I say this to suggest that the move, whilst being quite rightly publicised in very positive and deliberate terms, perhaps involves some strong 'push' factors which might be some consolation to anyone feeling that the festival might be gaily leaving them behind for pastures new.

I can understand this. I think it was clear in what was said that the newly redeveloped Cheltenham may not have had the same relationship to Greenbelt as the old one - they were working to become more commercial, more suitable as an event location, so Greenbelt would be in competition with a whole lot of other groups.

The thing is, any change - especially in a Christian activity - will generate lots of "how wonderful" comments and lots of "Oh no, don't change things" comments. For some people - some groups - it will be a positive change for others a negative one.

It is always difficult to make this sort of change. It is brave of Greenbelt to embrace this - as they have done in the past.

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Jay-Emm
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# 11411

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I had to go to Kettering yesterday and had a partial look around (but we don't really know much about Greenbelts or Boughton's plans to say much, so for the moment this is rather useless).

FROM THE HOLIDAY INN (no obvious route found (yet))
There is a reasonably good (open-street-map shows it as red dots) single track path (it looks like part of it was an old road, you could probably pushchair it but probably wouldn't) going from the Holiday Express Inn to a lay-bye on the A43 and then back to the Holiday Express Inn via a longer route [Hot and Hormonal] . However from that point I could not see any sign of any good path leading onwards. This bit of the A43 has no footpath or verge!
There is a sign of a footpath opposite the internal road that joins the Stamford Road, it doesn't look obvious where it goes, osm also shows a bit of a footpath from weekly. I will try to check these out.

FROM KETTERING TOWN CENTER
From Kettering to Geddington there is a footpath that permits bikes (on Stamford Road and on by the A43). It doesn't really permit overtaking but the bit from Kettering to Weekly is well verged. I don't think it continues, though.
It is about 1/2 an hour from the near edge on foot (more or less straight).

INSIDE (the posh bit as seen from Stamford Road, so almost certainly the wrong bit)
A few internal roads (potentially the equivalent of the track between the tents and racecourse at Cheltenham, in coverage) but no obvious big buildings or gravelly areas (IIRC there is a little stable court by the house, but I can't imagine it being convenient).
But no obvious set up (I presume much of it will be on a fringe, but was hoping for some clues as to which) (though to be fair, if you looked at Cheltenham you'd probably wonder how it would work).

*e.g. if it's where OSM has Alt-fest then I really need to look at the other side (especially as at that point you probably won't be going through the estate).

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welsh dragon

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In fact I checked on AA routefinder and the journey to Boughton for us only estimated as about 1/2 hour more than Cheltenham(though 45 miles further, but via motorway for more of the route, so faster).
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Pomona
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I hope Northampton's train and bus stations are in better repair by Greenbelt time....

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ken
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Getting to Northampton is no problem by public transport. The interesting bit is getting from there to the festival site. I sort of assume they have realised that special busses will be needed.

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L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Jack the Lass

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It would surely be easier to go to Kettering by public transport than Northampton though (the trains to Kettering go from St Pancras in London, and via Sheffield/Nottingham etc from the north). There isn't a direct train from Northampton to Kettering.

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
It would surely be easier to go to Kettering by public transport than Northampton though (the trains to Kettering go from St Pancras in London, and via Sheffield/Nottingham etc from the north). There isn't a direct train from Northampton to Kettering.

To get to either prob depends on where you are, Northampton is on the Euston line (so many places will save a change at Birmingham and Leicester).

To get (by public transport) from Northampton to Kettering it's probably quicker to get the train to London and back out again (but that will reinforce London-centricism, so don't).

[to get from Kettering to the site I hope they have plans as well (there was a English Heritage thing at Kelmarsh and they ran a Northampton/Kelmarsh/Kettering shuttle, so hopefully Greenbelt will take note)]

[ 19. November 2013, 17:34: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]

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Alan Cresswell

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A few times I took the train to Deane Park, and they had a special bus service between the nearest major station (can't remember where though) and the site. They haven't been at Cheltenham so long that the organisers will have forgotten things like that and have them sorted.

[ 19. November 2013, 20:57: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
It would surely be easier to go to Kettering by public transport than Northampton though (the trains to Kettering go from St Pancras in London, and via Sheffield/Nottingham etc from the north). There isn't a direct train from Northampton to Kettering.

I didn't realise there wasn't a direct train from Northampton - that is a pain (like the pain that is getting from Northampton to Peterborough if you don't have a car).

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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geroff
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I am not entirely sure why you need to go to Northampton at all.

The last time we moved there was a GB Angels meeting on site a few months before where they explained how it was all going to work, which was really useful. I will tell you if we hear anything from GB on this one.

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ken
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I only mentioned Northampton because everyone online has been going on about going back to Northampton!

If its really nearer Kettering then s/Northampton/Kettering/g

(Tho Northampton is really easy to get to by train...)

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L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Alex Cockell

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I know I've never been - and am unlikely to go with my mobility issues - but even if i was - SCREW THAT!

I NEED decent comms, access to a decent hotel...
As someone else said - Greenbelt isn't Glasto.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Alex Cockell:
I know I've never been - and am unlikely to go with my mobility issues - but even if i was - SCREW THAT!

I NEED decent comms, access to a decent hotel...
As someone else said - Greenbelt isn't Glasto.

Ahh but if only it was, and people didn't wimp out of camping [Biased]

(disability/mobility issues excepted of course)

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Alan Cresswell

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Even in the pre-Cheltenham days Greenbelt never really approached the pictures we see on the TV practically every year from Glastonbury. The camp sites themselves were largely free of mud (some areas around stand-pipes were the most likely exceptions), as were most of the venues. On the really wet years there were some areas of heavy usage (often where site vehicles needed access to service the site, empty bins and the like) which became very muddy. There were usually alternative routes past those points, though they may have taken longer than stomping through the mud. The other big problem was usually the car parks.

Put simply, there weren't enough people going over the same area for pedestrian use to create vast areas of mud. It was where vehicles were in use that there were problems. The restrictions of the geography of the site (location of fences, gates etc) made it impossible to totally seperate vehicles and pedestrians - whether the new site will be any different remains to be seen.

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geroff
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I can't actually remember places like Deene ever getting to the point of the quagmire that was the middle of the course at Cheltenham in 2012. At Deene the village was placed to take advantage of the natural fall of the land. If you remember the camping areas were also sloped. The topography at Boughton looks very similar.
The other thing was that in the last couple of years at Deene we had an Angel that worked for the Ministry of Agg and gave a lot of free advice. I wonder if he is still around.

[ 24. November 2013, 11:28: Message edited by: geroff ]

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"The first principle in science is to invent something nice to look at and then decide what it can do." Rowland Emett 1906-1990

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