Welcome to the January 2017 Newsletter. 

Jasmine Dale enjoying the winter sun 

Ecovillage news

We have been blessed with a mild dry winter here at Lammas - and we are all deep in our winter hibernation modes. Congratulations to Joe and Caz, who were recently awarded planning permission (under the One Planet Development policy) for their smallholding plans. There are now thirteen low-impact smallholdings with planning permission here at Lammas - with a whole range of peripheral projects - and more on the way. 

Winter sunrise over Simon and Jasmine's greenhouse and rainwater harvesting pond


Winter Willow Work at Plas Helyg


Plas Helyg means 'Willow Palace' in Welsh, an apt name as my main land based livelihood centres around the cultivation and use of the genus Salix. 

I grow 16 varieties of willow for basketry & sculpture here at Lammas, which I use both to sell as artisan products and to teach others how to weave with a most wonderful and versatile natural material. 

Willow can easily be grown organically, and a willow coppice will last around 25 years before needing to be replanted. As most people know, you can plant willow with just a cutting pushed intro the ground. Other fascinating willow facts are that aspirin comes from it's bark - though it was intended to be taken with Marshmallow to alleviate the possible stomach upset. Another is that even people with arthritis are finding they can weave willow - the bark and the rhythmic fine motor exercise seem to have a positive effect on creaky hands!  

At the moment, as you can see in the picture, I am weaving some hurdles commissioned locally. We are still in the process of coppicing our 2500+ willow stools, we do this between October & March, though I prefer January & February as the willow is still completely dormant but the weather is slightly better! We then 'cure's the willow, firstly by storing it upright in small loose bundles outside for 3-4 weeks, as in the photo. We then store it  undercover for several more weeks. After about 3 months it is completely dry & must be soaked before use. 

For this hurdle, the willow is semi-cured, it has lost some of its sap but is still flexible enough to go round the ends of the uprights. I use a rapping iron to ensure the weave is strong & tight. 

I love the colours of the willows, and it's multitude of uses. For info on my courses have a look at the Lammas Courses page - or for a more local teacher google the Basketmakers Association. 

Cassie and her willow 


 Crowdfunding for Eco-pods 

Ever wanted to visit Lammas, but really wanted to stay in a low impact, straw bale building? 

Well this is your chance! We are crowdfunding to raise the money to build the Eco-pods so visitors can really experience what it is really like to live here.

Rewards include week long eco-building courses and the chance to be among our first guests! 

You can also have a dedicated tree planted, or come on a tour or a workshop with me. 

We have only until February 13th to raise £5,000 so we need your involvement! 

Do have a look at our page - http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lammas-eco-pods join our crowd, and share with your friends!



Lammas Earth Centre 

2017 is the launch year for the brand new "Lammas Earth Centre" based on the Wimbushes plot at Lammas ~ www.lammasearthcentre.co.uk ~ 
The Lammas Earth Centre offers living experiences, real examples, intelligent guidance and easy step-by-step courses to support the exploration of making the transition to a One Planet Life.

One Planet Living, One Planet Healing, One Planet Being, One Planet Families are the categories of our educational experiences and we've created some
learning experiences for you including our Tiny homes building Course, Off-grid living systems Course and the low down on Compost Toilets and why they're so important...We've got courses exploring our inner world and limiting beliefs helping give space to clear the way for inner alignment, self reflection & earth connection. And this year we're offering eco-retreats so people can book and stay in our purpose built eco-cabins for nature immersion and deep R&R. And finally we're offering our "Back to Nature" series 7-12 yr olds, 13-17 yr olds and "Natural Parenting & earthing the wild in our child" courses helping families combat the screen age and reconnect with real life.

All meals for the courses will be sourced from food lovingly grown in our gardens.

Please visit our brand new website for more information
In time, the Lammas Earth Centre will be a simply stunning physical space and is currently being built to wrap around and look into Melangell's Heaven, 
a circular indoor space of abundant nature and beauty some 7m high and 8m wide.
Melangell is the Welsh saint of the natural world and her symbol is the Hare.

'Whats your Story?' film

Tao and Hoppi Wimbush recently took part in a project by James Light, film-maker, entitled 'What's your story?'. Click here to watch on youtube



New Research - The process of making-do in self-builds in rural Wales

new research paper by Mark Waghorn, Architect, explores a really important and often overlooked aspect of low-impact development - the realities of making-do with limited resources.

'The most important thing about the research is that I see it only as a starting point for something that I hope will grow into a wider study of how communities can thrive in situations of resource constraint. I am hoping to turn it into an open-source project for other to contribute their own experience of the creative processes of making do. I have identified ten 'themes' of making do, but these could be expanded and elaborated, especially if others are able to make contributions.

My main vehicle for research is the vignette, which includes a photographic snapshot, accompanied by a written observation about particular instances of making do. If anyone has examples of their own making do that they have snapped, I would love it they sent it to me with a brief description of the subject and what it says to them about the process of making do. This would be a good way of developing my research into something shared.'

Mark is continuing to provide bespoke architectural services through his architectural practice, but is also now developing a business making highly insulated pods.

'The idea has been largely inspired by my research which has identified inhabitable mobile boxes as popular and useful in the low impact / OPD community, but that most caravans used are not fit for purposes of year-round living.'

Contact details can be found at Marks website: http://www.mwd.wales 



Diggers and Dreamers - 25th Anniversary

Yes it's been over 25 years since the Diggers and Dreamers collective took on the communal living way-marker. Pointing folks this way and that way to whatever utopian ideal they may be imagining.

To celebrate this we decided to put out another edition of the printed directory that was so much the centre point of our endeavours. For those familiar with past editions, it still comes with the usual collection of eclectic articles written by some of the flourishing minds of the movement as well as an entry for all the 150 plus UK communities who have decided to join us.

For those interested purely in the groups more akin to Lammas, perhaps our recent 'Low-Impact Living Communities' book would be interesting. It comes complete with a lovely, purpose written piece by Lammas' own dear Tao Wimbush on the formative stages of the eco-village. As well as articles from Tony Wrench, Simon Fairlie and many more, from gender to house boats, it's all there!


If you want to track back and follow the historical threads related to Lammas' land based forebears, perhaps the 'Utopia' or 'Communes' Britannica volumes might tickle your fancy? All available from the website – www.diggersanddreamers.org.uk – donations are a nice thing too!

James Dennis, D+D editorial team


 Community Hub Spring Workday

Upcoming Events, Workshops and Courses  

Click on title to view details 

DateDescriptionCourse facilitated by
February 22nd – April 28thPermaculture Design CertJasmine Dale
February 11th 2017Big Hearts Workshop Cassandra Lishman
April 1stHeron Sculpture Workshop Cassandra Lishman
April 8th – 9th 2017Back to Nature CampHoppi Wimbush
April 14thLeaping Hare Workshop Cassandra Lishman
April 29th – 30thTruth for Youth CampHoppi Wimbush
May 1st – 31stNatural Building and Permaculture InternshipJasmine and Simon Dale
June 3rdLarge Dragonfly Sculpture Workshop Cassandra Lishman
July 5th – 9th One Planet LivingHoppi Wimbush
July 24th – 31stThe Cob ExperienceCassandra and Nigel Lishman
August 5thHarvest Basket Workshop Cassandra Lishman
August 11th – 13thNatural ParentingHoppi Wimbush
August 18 – 21stLammas Family Adventure CampMelissa Jacqui and Robyn
August 27th – 28thErgonomic Log Basket Residential Course Cassandra Lishman
September 6th – 10th One Planet HealingHoppi Wimbush
November 11th – 12thWillow Basket and Flax Flowers WorkshopMelissa and Jacqui
December 9thReindeer SculptureCassandra Lishman


All courses are based at the Lammas Ecovillage


A glimpse into the Lammas Solstice Celebration: