An evening at Embercombe. September 26th, 2014
Over the years there have many opportunities for the local community to visit Embercombe but this Friday was different. A small group from Trusham had proposed a visit to see how people in their village might become more closely involved – and this led to Friday’s welcoming get together of interested residents from both Ashton and Trusham.
Dominic began by giving us the background to Embercombe’s development and mission. Outside, on this beautiful evening, we stood and wondered at the transformation all around of a once derelict site: the newly banked and planted hedgerows, the vegetable garden, orchards and fruit trees and the artistry of the small buildings and constructs.
Dan, the main organiser of the visit, told us how all this was used as a major educational resource for visiting school children, their teachers and for adults. There was a wistful “me too” from some of the adults when a tractor ride was proposed to take the children to the gardens. We walked down past the yurts to the circular vegetable garden with its blend of productivity, colours and scents.
Those of us who had failed to profit from our desk-bound science lessons at school were given a second chance by Jo standing beside his lime kiln and explaining the whole process of the lime cycle. Such hands-on education is at the heart of what Embercombe does.
Some of us had heard of the Linhay project. Now we were being given the chance to see it nearing completion. Phil,,head of the independent Embercombe building company, gave us an inspired account of the process. It is a building like no other we had seen: much of it from recycled materials and using highly traditional skills of wood working, cob and lime plastering. This combined with the latest technology in solar power, heat retention and water saving – and with the involvement of apprentices, often from challenging backgrounds, trained up on special apprenticeship schemes. Clearly, the future use of this large and adaptable building complex is something in which the local community would hope to be involved.
And finally, there was the chance to talk about all we had seen and learnt amongst ourselves and with community residents and helpers. Drifting smoke from the famous Embercombe pizza oven; Jo’s cider; dusk falling on a still warm, late autumn evening. Where better place to be?
Our warm thanks to all who worked so hard to provide this occasion to strengthen the ties with the local community. A clear Yes vote to “better together”.