What are our plans for the land?

 

In the widest sense, we aspire to improve our local resilience. This means reducing our need for imported food, fuel, craft materials and income.

 
We have a short list of aims for the land:

 

  • Great, useful, wild and beautiful places to be
  • *  Producing our own wood for heating, crafts and building
  • *  Growing food to eat, and maybe to sell as well in the future
  • *  Space for guests, maybe even paying guests in the future
  • *  Domestic composting and on-site sewage management turning waste into fertility

 

 

We're still working on this website, but one day we will upload a simple map showing...

 

1.  Outdoor compost loo/hot-tub/shower edge
This will be made much more useful and beautiful in the future.

 

2. Events Field.
We have space to erect marquees.  There are three very big, attractive trees here, and scope for an improved, permanent “field kitchen” in the future.

 

3. The Wetland area.
More detail about this in "low impact sewage management" at the bottom of this page. Willow for business will be a yield of the wetland.  We already harvest willow for firewood and basketry.

 

4.  Hedges
With enough time, we will get round to laying all our hedges. This provides good habitat for dormice, who prefer hedges laid low and thick, so that the mice can get some of the hazel nuts, and the owls can't get all of the mice! If the hazel hedges get tall and leggy, the squirrels get them all. A squat, thick hedge is better for birds nesting too. Particular advantages of lowering our boundaries are that more light and warmth gets into the site, and at its lowest point, the cold air – freezing fog in winter - will ooze off more easily.

 

5. New Orchard and Old Orchard.
Already managed for lots of soft-fruit and hard-fruit, and a few nuts.

 

6. The square.
We have not decided which of our ideas will grow in this area. The ideas include quiet camping for events (far from the firepits and marquees) or more veg' growing.

 

7. The Pond
This is the final part of the wetland system.  We trim the trees around it for firewood and craft materials. It's also a lovely place for hanging out and walking around, though in a careful, quiet fashion, so that it remains a haven for birds and other wildlife.

 

8.  The Willow Woods
This part of the land needs a lot of work to convert it into coppice for fuel and poles: sweet chestnut, oak, ash, all the way to the polytunnel line. We will leave some of the oak to become significant timber, but we're working our way through coppicing the ash, hazel, poplar, birch and willow.

 

9. The old Croquet lawn.

This area is currently used for the relaxation of members, but we might grow more food and flowers here in the future.

 

10. The Front Lawn.
When the mud-and-scaffolding years are over, this might be a lovely sunny place to grow artichokes, marigolds, lettuces, soft fruit... A beautiful area of low plantings to maximise light into the house.

 

11. The Woods

 We have an acre of diverse woodland that we harvest food and fuel from sparingly, mostly leaving it to the squirrels, rabbits, birds, polecats and newts, amongst others.

 

 

12. Low Impact Sewage Management

 

 

Our new wetland can deal with the sinks, showers and flushes and laundry of up to 25 adults. 

 

Jay Abrahams is the designer of our old (2000) and new (2014) WET systems - Wetland Ecological Treatment systems) which are the best solution to turning waste water into healthy soil,  vigorous plants and clean water. He is a respected professional, as well as our friend. His website is linked in below.

 

Because of the low nature of our land, we cannot be connected to the mains sewage, without also installing a pump which would be cripplingly expensive in turns of initial outlay, maintenance and electricity use. 

 

We are very happy with our unusual systems though, in which waterborne waste works through ponds and swales and the bacteria that live in the swales make the nutrients in the waste rapidly available to plants, planted in and around the swales. There is a settling tank at the beginning of the system, but the overflow moves through 6 ponds, deliberately overgrown with many native British water-lover plants.  We are obliged to harvest willow and alder around the ponds at the end of the system.  The end pond is a haven for wildlife and wild flowers, and clean and deep enough to swim in.  We also harvest the duck weed for the compost heaps.  The first pond has a ph of 2.5, but that's a nice neutral 7 by the 5th pond.

 

For much more information about living wetland ecological treatment systems, see

http://www.biologicdesign.co.uk/page.php?pageid=home