The Hub will provide an all-weather meeting place, classroom and shelter when completed in Summer 2023. The Hub's external cob and stone wall structure is nearly complete, thanks to a huge local volunteer effort since 2020 and grants from Guildford Borough Council and the Community Foundation for Surrey. It has been constructed from cob, locally sourced stone and wood and recycled materials.
The Hub will extend the use of the garden to a wider range of groups. We seek to raise awareness of local habitat conservation and sustainable food production and building techniques as well as providing a beautiful wild space for well being. Summer courses are already run on botanical identification, scything and cobbing.
The garden began in 2010. It is a 19-acre area of privately-owned downland, whose care was entrusted to the Guildford Environmental Forum. It is a no-dig, no fossil-fuel organic garden of flowers, fruit and vegetables a community orchard and downland nature reserve.
What we'll deliver:
- Complete all weather usable shelter built by hand from local eco materials.
- Increased use for training courses, meetings and local community-led groups
- Unique eco-structure walking distance from central guildford
Why it's a great idea:
The crowdfund will enable the Guildford Environmental Forum, which operates the site, to complete the project to provide a shelter, meeting-place, classroom and shelter to the local community as well as to the Community garden members.
The project brings the following benefits:
- Volunteering opportunities for guildford community - organic gardening / orchard care / pond development / habitat management.
- A wellbeing space open to all for just a £10 annual membership
- A working community project networked to other environmental groups locally (e.g. community fridge and biodiversity groups at Zero, Pewley Down and Pewley Meadows Volunteers and Surrey Wildlife Trust.)
- A resource of affordable training courses and events including nature walks, cob building, freshwater habitats and pond development, orchard care, and grassland habitat conservation.
- A free venue for groups and local small businesses to use for wellbeing, environmental and local traditional crafts etc
Steps to get it done:
- Final Cob doorway arch completed with bottle windows (October 2022)
- Hub gets reinforced frame and canvas cover in time for winter 2022 (November)
- Internal and external render (March - June 2023)
- Floor, doors and woodburning stove installed (May - July 2023)
- Hub available for use (Jun/July 2023)
Our project has been completely volunteer led since 2020. As with so many other endeavours covid and associated personal and health challenges have delayed progress. We have needed to change our original design from a cob dome formed around a wooden lattice, to cob door arch walls within a wooden and canvas yurt structure. The pictures and documents within this application reflect this change in design.