Prior to the Covid pandemic, we were enjoying hosting many more groups in the wood, learning about conservation, sustainability, wellbeing, resilience and mindfulness – not only from our own team, but from teachers worldwide who run their retreats and residentials at Hazel Hill Wood.
Having been aware that our accommodation was not adequate to meet the growing needs of our clients and, in keeping with our aspiration to give more people the opportunity to connect deeply and meaningfully with nature at the wood, we set about changing this.
Construction of our new build, The Hideaway, began in late 2019, and despite many major delays, the project is complete and we are now commissioning the building.
The Hideaway is going to transform what we can offer as a charity post the pandemic when we can welcome larger groups back into the wood, for example:
- hosting programmes for senior policy makers in the NHS and other services, where nature immersion gives deeper perspective.
- sharing our expertise with other centres and individuals by making train the trainer programmes viable.
- hosting larger groups of up to 32 people, e.g. whole school classes.
- leading teachers to run groups on topics like climate change and resilience.
A simple but lovingly-finished 140m² building with 8 single / twin bedrooms (one of which is wheelchair accessible), off-grid technology such as photovoltaic-powered lighting, composting loos and an efficient wood-burning stove for heating and hot showers. Construction is a timber frame and has used as much timber as possible from the wood in the fit-out.
We have combined over 20 years of learning and experience in running off-grid systems at the wood and have designed intermediate technology at an affordable price. We hosted a volunteer and trainee event in early 2020 to help participants learn about off-grid technology and get involved in the Hideaway fit-out. The Hideaway is coming at a time when sustainability is a vital topic and environmental awareness and social activism is growing exponentially.
Thie Hideaway will be open to bookings from November.
Generous grants from both the EU Leader and a private donor have made this project possible – thank you to them both!