Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sustainability Centre in Hampshire

I wanted to share some information and photographs of the Sustainability Centre at East Meon, Hampshire. It's a great site on top of the South Downs. It's in 55 acres of chalkland on an old MOD site. There is a visitor centre, hostel, camping and courses are run there throughout the year. This is where I attended the Permaculture in 5 days course last year run by Patrick Whitefield - a leading permaculture teacher, writer and designer and thoroughly nice man.

The building that houses the visitor centre is also home to Permanent Publications who publish The Permaculture Magazine and offer many books on permaculture, sustainability, etc and other items in a shop there or online here. There are other businesses run from there too and within the 55 acres is the South Downs Natural Burial Site which is a truly peaceful place to walk.

This year they are hosting a Hampshire Green Fair on Sunday May 10th from 10am to 4pm. We went to this last year on a gloriously sunny day and had a fabulous time. We'll certainly be there again this year.

So here are some pictures of visits we have made to the centre.
These are from the Hampshire Fair in May 2008 -
These are from another visit when we took one of Imogen's uncles with us, the weather was changeable that day.

Imogen by the herb beds outside the Sustainability Centre kitchen. Whilst on the permaculture course, our group did some work on this bed pruning and tidying it up. It was good fun although I did get sun burnt!
Imogen showing off her umbrella
The Straw Bale building shower block (unfinished at this time - August 2008)

Outdoor clay oven being built for use by campers.
(I'll take some pictures again in May to see how these look now they are finished.
View across the mini orchard, the Yurt and Teepee that you can stay in, or camp around this area, and the compost toilet (beyond the Yurt). You can also stay in the hostel they have converted which is lovely.

It's a lovely place, the people who work there are lovely and the bookshop is just too tempting to visit, especially since I found they had a sale/discount area whilst I was on the Permaculture course. I was quite restrained and only bought about 7 books but they were bargains. Anyway a great place to visit for the Hampshire Fair or even just for a walk at another time. There are also some great places to stop and walk nearby including Old Winchester Hill which has some stunning views across the Downs. Often we see people paragliding in the area too.

Here are some pictures of the nature reserve

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