Our next phase is to build a fantastic straw bale, timber-framed roundhouse.    This will be used as a classroom, workshop venue, event space, theatre, arts venue.  And it will be available to hire for individuals and groups.

The roundhouse will have:

  • rammed tyre foundations
  • straw bale walls
  • lime render (outside)
  • lime plaster (inside)
  • shingle roof (local cedar)
  • timber frame (local timber)
  • verandah (with living roof)
  • stage facing an amphitheatre

The plans have been drawn up by Straw Works, a specialist straw bale building company.

Roundhouse plan view

Roundhouse elevation 1

Roundhouse elevation 2

Planning permission was obtained in 2014:

At all phases of this project members and the local community (including children) have inputted into what they want to see on the site.  The project group brainstormed, looked at other projects and asked society members and members of the public  what they would like to see on such a site.  An internationally recognised design process (permaculture) was used to design not only the site, but also the organisation too.  Some of the things that are planned (or have now been achieved) are:

  • orchards
  • cider apples
  • fruit-growing
  • forest gardens (multi-layer food gardens which mimic natural woodland)
  • trees of use to the community (timber, biomass, craft resources etc)
  • ponds
  • wildlife areas
  • celebration spaces
  • natural childrens play
  • training and education in food-growing and sustainable lifestyles

And all this needs to be sustainable (financially and environmentally) in the long-run and provide employment and livelihoods for local people.

And, if you’re interested, then your idea could be added to that list – maybe you’ve always fancied growing watercress?  or wanted to celebrate your child’s birth in a sustainable way? or want to grow a local apple variety but don’t have the space?  or you want to grow enough raspberries to make your own jam? Now is the time to get involved and get your ideas off the ground, with Whistlewood’s support.