I had the pleasure of spending a week at a low impact, self-sufficiency community called Lammas in west Wales earlier in the year. They run various courses, one of which is the Low Impact Living Experience where they teach you about various low impact building techniques that you get to help out with hands-on, as well as how they got planning permission to go ahead with this way of life on the land they bought and the various struggles and accomplishments along the way.
Pembrokeshire in Wales is a very beautiful place. Lots of lush rolling green hills and fields and windy rickety roads in the countryside.
A week spent in the fresh air and expansive countryside with like-minded people was just what I needed. I got to share hopes, dreams and ideas with people on the same journey as I was, as well as learn first hand from those already living the low impact, self sufficient dream. It was an eye opener to experience the lifestyle that up until then had only been a dream. Building with hand tools from reclaimed and hand made materials is very hard and time consuming work, but equals in satisfaction once accomplished.
The other people on the course ranged from mid 40s to mid 20s couples and singles from all kind of backgrounds and present lifestyles. We spent every night around the kitchen table inside a stone 100 year old house with a massive kitchen fireplace eating the most delicious food Ive ever eaten made lovingly by a young man who joined the course simply to cook for us. We got to experience bee keeping and willow basket making as well as listen to fabulous stories told to us by a resident.
We were befriended by cats and horses and dogs everywhere we went. We got to get our hands dirty helping the residents with their various jobs while also learning the reasons behind the methods. We learned about cob houses, turf roofed houses, round houses, reticulated timber roof houses, timber framed buildings, permaculture, off-grid living, water generated electricity, solar power and I also got to use my first ever compost toilet over-looking the most incredible views.
We watched videos on Permaculture while drying our wellies out on the fire place and listened to some course goers singing folk songs they’d learned growing up.
On the last evening we gathered bits of dried wood and holly berries and wild flowers to decorate a large table in the hub house where we feasted before ending the night around a fire and listening to more folk song and music.
It was an incredible experience, to connect with others and with Mother Nature in such a raw and beautiful way. I am so thankful that I got to experience this week and meet such wonderful people.
All photographs shot by me.