Eco-Outdoor Classroom Offers Unique Opportunity

Tony Rollinson
Wednesday, 30th May 2012

An eco-outdoor classroom inspired by woodsman Ben Law is offering a unique weekend in June. If you have an interest in sustainable living, traditional building, woodland crafts, roundwood timber framing or permaculture then the South Downs National Park event will be for you!

The two-day fundraising Weekend in the Woods takes place on 23rd and 24th June 2012 in aid of a new outdoor classroom and community building at Harting Primary School in South Harting, near Petersfield.

At the heart of the event will be the opportunity to view a stunning round timber-frame eco-woodland house in Elsted – home to local charcoal producer Chris Wall-Palmer and his family, wife Lucy and four children. 

The two-day event is suitable for all the family and is supported by: The South Downs National Park Authority, The National Trust, St Wilfred’s Hospice, Cowdray Estate Forestry Department and Ballards Brewery among others. 

This event promises to be an inspirational forum to anyone who shares an interest in sustainable living, traditional building, woodland crafts and the future of our green and pleasant land. 

Tours of Chris and Lucy’s cruck-frame straw bale house, will give a valuable insight into this beautiful structure and the appeal of a sustainable woodland lifestyle - built using local materials and traditional techniques by Chris Wall-Palmer, with the valuable input of renowned local natural builder Ben Law.  

Lucy explains "three of our four children attend Harting School which has always impressed us with its attitude and policies towards sustainability. Chris and I have been planning and building our own sustainable home in  our woodland for four years. We are delighted to be able to support the school by opening our home and hosting this fundraising woodland fair. We hope that the Weekend in the Woods will open people's eyes to the possibilities of living in an eco-friendly way - as well as open their pockets to donate money towards the school's outdoor classroom - an extremely exciting and worthwhile project."

Visitors will be able to witness experienced skilled craftsmen at work. There will be opportunities to take part in hands-on workshops which will educate and appeal to all ages. 

Other stalls and activities include: charcoal burning, chair making, saw milling, orest school workshops, den building, cob mixing - construction and sculpture, post and rail making, woodland theme fancy dress, big machinery demonstrations, plant stalls, wood carving, story telling, shingle cutting and much, much more. 

Food and drink will be available to buy throughout the weekend. 

Admission to ‘Weekend in the Woods’ is free, however for those who do come along to enjoy the activities and atmosphere, a voluntary donation would be most welcome and will go towards the construction of the school’s outdoor classroom, which has been designed by volunteers and will be built by Ben Law, with his team and the local community.  For more information on this project see www.harting-roundhouse.org.uk

The location of the ‘Weekend In The Woods’ is Ingram’s Copse woods, Ingram’s Green Lane, Elsted Marsh GU29 0LJ. There will be extensive, clear signage on the day. Limited parking will be provided. In keeping with the sustainable theme of the weekend, full cars park for free. This is a real opportunity to experience what can be achieved in a local and sustainable way.

Hay Festival 2012Also, Ben Law will be appearing at this year's prestigious Hay Festival of Literature & The Arts.

You can meet Ben at 11.30am on Thursday 31 May when he joins the Hay On Earth Forum panel. For further details view our diary link at: www.permaculture.co.uk/events/ben-law-hay-festival-literature-arts 

For details of Ben Law's eco buildings, open days and courses, books and DVDs please view www.ben-law.co.uk

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