Urgent! Our off-grid woodland community is facing eviction after 16 years of low-impact existence...

Categories: Seeking

Please help if you can.  Help save This low-impact woodland community from eviction

We at Steward Community Woodland (known locally as Steward Wood) are a group of families who live and work together off-grid using permaculture design, low-impact building and pioneering community dynamics on 32 acres of woodland on the edge of Dartmoor that we have owned and lived on since 2000. Since our inception, thousands of visitors and volunteers have come to learn from us and to see how we go about preserving our environment and living in a low-impact way whilst also playing an active part in our local rural community.

But, we now face eviction from our homes unless we can raise enough funds for our legal appeal against the latest decision to deny us permanent planning permission.

We need to raise a massive £38,000 to cover the costs of mounting an effective legal challenge to the planning decision. Your help is the only thing that's going to give us a chance of putting our case.

We literally face the loss of our homes and our community if we can't mount an effective appeal against the planning decision. Please help us have a chance.

Find out more about us here and on our campaign page here

We really cannot do this alone...

Why support us?

There are so many projects and charities and urgent problems in the world - we know that now, more than ever, times are hard for most of us. Why should you give us your hard-earned money?

Here are a few reasons why we think that our community is worth saving. Perhaps you can think of others!

  • To support a sustainable living and working woodland project, of which there are so few
  • Through our restoration and conservation work, we're actually increasing the biodiversity of this land
  • We are experimenting with:
    • permaculture food growing and land use
    • community dynamics
    • renewable energy and appropriate technology
    • building our own dwellings using low-impact materials
    • small-scale woodland management
    • experiential and home education
  • If the project continues we can keep inspiring others who learn from what we are doing.
  • Steward Community Woodland provides vital access to woodland, which is increasingly recognised as fundamentally important, especially for children.
  • We have built affordable, sustainable housing - it would be a huge shame, and a waste, to tear this down when we don't have any harmful impact.
  • We provide a holistic, educational environment available to all as well as providing courses for adults and children.
  • People travel from all over the world to visit Steward Community Woodland, which is a great benefit to our local community. We have more than 1000 visitors each year,
  • Scientists around the world are calling for urgent action to create a sustainable future (IPCC Report 2014). Steward Community Woodland is one example of many of how we can move forward in these challenging times.

Our project - a community that works and a beacon to others

We own the land we live on - children have been born and raised here, and we're now twelve adults and nine children. This is a small village, a community that works...

Our low impact living community and project meets the criteria of Dartmoor National Park Agency (DNPA) policies, in particular DMD30 (entitled 'Low impact residential development in the open countryside'), along with the National Planning Policy Framework. We have also proposed various conditions to guarantee the low impact nature of the settlement.

Living on-site is essential for the continued viability of our project. Living in conventional housing in nearby towns and commuting to the site could only be supported by having full-time (and well-paid) jobs elsewhere, leaving us with little or no time to carry out the project. Living in the woods enables us to dedicate our time to the project and be fully committed to it. Living in the woods also enables us to bring up our children in a safe and nourishing environment, while learning important skills in sustainable living, being in harmony with nature, caretaking the land and its creatures. We reside in low impact, ecological dwellings and utilise renewable sources of energy while reducing our fossil fuel and vehicle use.

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