Today, Mel takes us on a photo journey through the house build that she and her family have undertaken in the woods…
We moved to Steward Community Woodland 10 years ago with our young son, and built a low impact structure intended to last 5 years or so. Nine years and two more children later, the time came to rebuild. As we were applying for planning permission that year, we decided to move location a little further down the hill (below the water line!) and rebuild a home from the timber around us. Using a mobile saw mill to plank up some of our Douglas Fir and Larch trees, we were able to make a start.
Today, Ollie and Lorna show us how to make fire using the ancient bow drill method. You can get your own bow drill kit, made from materials from Steward Wood, over in the crowdfunder, or get a place on one of their courses, if you’re quick…
Today, Lorna describes how it feels to have found the woods, arriving as a volunteer before becoming a community member
Although I grew up in England I spent much of my early life in a small village high up in the Himalayas with a family of Gadd people in Northern India. It was as far removed from an urban upbringing in England as could be and the first place I truly felt at home.
I developed many skills during my time there. I learned how to grow crops, gather wild food, make fire, tend animals and how to live and work with the surrounding forest. I learned to tell the time by the shadow of the sun and shared the snow-peaked hillsides with leopards, bears and eagles. It was a truly magical place to live.
After spending many years in the mountains I eventually had to leave and move back to England. Although I liked being back I missed my life in the village and wished I could have a similar way of life in my native land. Even though the homesickness lessened as time went on, missing village life stayed with me as and I often thought of all the things I had learned there.
Then I visited Steward Wood. I made my way up the wooded hillside and saw the self built houses with their terraced gardens, smelt wood smoke in the air and saw children running down the hill and it all seemed so familiar. During my stay I helped deliver lambs, worked in the woods, planted crops and tracked wild animals. I sat around the fire at night and got to know all the people who lived there.
Now I live at Steward Wood and I get to make fire, gather food, grow crops and look after animals as part of my daily life. I am surrounded by an amazing community of people and all the wild things of the woods. Sometimes if the sun is shining through the trees at a certain angle or a particular type of wood smoke is in the breeze I close my eyes and for just for a moment I am back in the village again – calling the goats into herd or sweeping the dust from the cow shed – then as I open them I am back in the woods and it feels good to be home.