Free range chickens
Our new flock of chickens

This has been the land’s busiest summer ever – a much-needed boost after the financial hardship caused by lockdown.

Demand for all our courses went up, particularly those aimed at young people. Our Little FoxesEarth Steward Apprenticeship (ESA) and ESA Junior programmes were completely booked out and we even had to boost our capacity to keep up with demand.

Our Wild Wellbeing days for adults have also grown more popular; we now have around 15 people attending regularly. And more than 50 people – of all ages – came to our family connection camp in August.

Forest Bathing
The Wild Wellbeing group try a spot of forest bathing

Developments at Phoenix Lodge

But the biggest development at Sacred Earth this year has been on the land itself. Our new partnership with our neighbours at Phoenix Lodge means that for the first time we’re able to have live-in volunteers, through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF).

Fenella, our volunteer
Our WWOOF volunteer, Fenella, in the new garden she helped create

They’ve been fantastic; creating a veggie patch from scratch, turning our old polytunnel into an organic salad factory, looking after our new flock of free-range chickens and helping out as support staff on some of our courses and camps.

Some of the other exciting developments at Phoenix Lodge are:

  • New accommodation, including a Mongolian ger and a yurt.
  • Conversion of the old garage into self-contained accommodation with a kitchen, bedroom and living room.
  • Three new compost toilets and an outdoor shower.
  • We have almost completed construction of a timber-built gathering space, which will be heated by a wood burning stove.
New timber building
 The new timber structure is almost finished

It would have been very difficult for us to get planning permission to erect structures like this on our site, but as Phoenix Lodge is a house with its own land, it’s much more straightforward. Their land adjoins ours and the gate at the top of our meadow opens straight into the new veg patch and garden!

New possibilities and looking to the future

It opens up a whole range of possibilities because we can now offer a wider range of accommodation and facilities to course participants in future.

The newly converted kitchen
Our new kitchen area

So as we head into winter, we’re entering a much-needed phase of slowing down, taking stock and looking to the future. We want our organisation to grow in a sustainable way, to be able to meet the upsurge in demand for what we offer.

As part of this expansion we hope take a more strategic approach to our communications. Our analytics show that only round 30 per cent of our newsletters were opened by recipients, so we’ll be focusing our efforts on blogging as an alternative way of keeping you informed. Watch this space for more regular updates over the coming months.