A community in a rather red mansion! Great to see these buildings built from foundations of total inequality accommodate loads of folk who have worked out or who are working out how to live cooperatively together as well as housing organisations of WWOOF and LILI.IMG_1474

As always we had a warm welcome here; literally first evening the community of 23 folk huddled around bonfires (two!), marshmallow for the children and champagne to celebrate a long term visitor’s success. Not long after a birthday tea and everyone was preparing for a weekend of visitors for combined birthdays – definitely a sociable community.

IMG_1477Two other volunteers left after the weekend and Rob and I enjoyed a range of jobs from daily sheep feeding, mulching veg beds in the walled garden and poly tunnel, pruning fruit trees, cutting back and laying hedges, sorting lots of big brash piles, filling a skip with scrap metal.

We ate communal meals in the grand dining room every night – home made bread daily. James D showed his archives of photos on all things community. The main reason for us choosing Redfield was because it is a long standing community; it celebrates 35this year. One member told us it is rare for a conflict to become so unwieldy that others in the community need to get involved. There is a very solid policy of a long joining process. A definite preference that everyone has the same status and lives under the same roof; having tried a cohousing type of arrangement with members in the past.

Perhaps most significantly we decided to buy a yurt from David a community member who built them as a business. We bought the display model! No surprise. We had been talking about it for ages Just a month or so sooner than we had been planning!

IMG_1499The blue Kangoo left laden! Ropes, knots and tarpaulins. We took it to a field in Pembrokeshire owned by good friends and waved goodbye to Redfield.




Blaen Cwm

We spent a week at Blean Cwm. We chose this small holding because it was only 4-5 acres, they kept 5 sheep and had a ¾ acre willow patch and Glyn has an interest in using the sheep fleece for spinning and weaving. We are exploring whether growing willow for basketry, living structures and bio engineering is a possible income for us.  We were grateful to Nick for his generous knowledge on this.

I am keen to find out as much as possible about growing wool; just for wool. That is to say the bi product might be the meat every few years. It’s a difficult one to get my head around having been vegetarian for the last 22 years. But we are both fully aware that what we want to do is likely to unvegetarian us.

IMG_1523Thanks to Glyn for getting out the spare spinning wheel and getting me going! A way to go yet but good to play. We also maintained a fedge; a willow hedge fence that Nick had planted for a garage owner who had bought a little extra land from the local farmer on condition he created a barrier.


The Yurt!

IMG_1543-1It’s up! Took Rob a couple of days getting the base level but once that was done the rest of it went up in a morning. The weather was perfect – mostly sunny and one day was warm (for Feb) we were very happy when eventually we had a shelter. Thanks to D + J for supporting us.


Tom O Kane Hearing.

We went to our first planning appeal in February. It was a gripping event that had us on the edge of our seats, and held our concentration better than a Harry Potter movie. Well actually I seemed to follow the narrative better than that; perhaps because I was so much better prepared; being quite au fait with all things One Planet Development policy. We kept our infuriation to ourselves at the objection from the national park authority and felt suitably encouraged at the range of excellent support the application got. My notes of the proceedings are here (Tom OKane_2_unedited) for anyone with an interest.

The rather depressing outcome is also available (Decision 2184276). Lots of food for thought for us.