Foraging with Taste the Wild [Read me!]
New Years Eve [Read me!]
Christmas Craft Weekend [Read me!]
Christmas is coming… [Read me!]
Lewis Todhunter Gig 16th Nov 2012 [Read me!]
Cakes made to order! [Read me!]
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Becky Doggett posted this on 16th Jan 2012
Whilst getting our next newsletter ready to send out, I spent some time chatting to the guys working on the Shacks. We did a little Q&A for the newsletter to give people an insight into the building of the Shacks and while we were chatting away Andy mentioned he had a smallholding back in Sussex that he and his partner started five years ago. Their approach to it and what they have achieved is really interesting and so I thought I would share it with you!
Andy and Kate call it microholding because the plot of land they have is so small. They wanted to have their own workshop and grow their own veg so five years ago they bought a house and transformed the garden. It was the first time either of them had attempted something like this, but with a lot of common sense and some gardening know how they have created a successful site for organic food production.
They have tried to make their small holding have a low environmental impact and re-use and recycle where possible. The electric fence which keeps the pigs in is powered by a second hand solar panel, they collect rainwater from all their roofs and have used coppiced sweet chestnut for various structures around their garden.
Currently they grow a range of vegetables year round, have a selection of different fruit trees and bushes, keep former battery chickens and quail for eggs and have started breeding pigs for meat. The majority of the food they eat has come from their own hard work and the only produce that they need to buy from the local store is flour, bread and oil!
As they both have jobs that take them away from their smallholding for short periods of time they have designed it to be a low input system. The chicken run is completely fox proof and is set up so the chickens don’t have to be shut in at night, but can let themselves in and out. They grow their vegetables hard which takes more time but means they need less attention and in Andy’s opinion taste better too!
Any smallholding will need attention though and in April and May Andy and Kate are at their busiest sowing and planting, keeping birds away and picking slugs off their plants. I asked Andy when his favorite time of year was, June and July was his answer, when the gardens rammed full of produce ready to be eaten. The winter months were less rewarding as the root veg which is associated with this time of year such as carrots, parsnips and squash, take more work and are less fun.
In November 2011 they won Smallholder of the Year, an award given out by country smallholding magazine and Kate has gone on to write articles for them. They also make a range of products such as table lamps, wine racks and outdoor furniture from reclaimed wood in their workshop to sell. If you are interested in finding out more about them why not look them up on the permaculture association website:
or have a look at the fantastic things they make in their workshop:
David Sorley posted this on 02nd May 2011
Oh, it’s the yurts!
Can’t wait until Spring 2012!
Claire Sorley posted this on 30th Mar 2011
Imagine you are staying at the bivouac for a week, you want to use the beautiful outdoors as much as possible and you want to make the most of our hot tubs and showers (that come with a surprise!) as well. What would you want or need with you on your break away in the way of toiletries?
It’s all a bit “Hush hush” right now, but we are currently working with a very local company who make beautiful, luxurious, natural bath and shower products, to design and make our own ‘bivouac’ toiletries. We hope these little surprises, found in and around your accommodation will be part of completing the “bivouac experience”.
We are designing products that will be ‘just the ticket’ after a day out walking, climbing or cycling in the Dales, things that wash away any aches and pains, and any dirt under your finger nails! But also things that look after your feet, hands and lips and, for those who want to pamper themselves, there will also be some luxurious treatments to try out!
The company we are working with are great, the philosophy behind their products fits really nicely alongside the bivouac’s ideals, respecting the environment and creating products with ethics. This, in “product form” we believe will give us even happier baths, showers and skin! More updates to come on the progress of this soon.
So, returning to the original question….. do let me know! You never know, you might even find some in your yurt!
Sam Hardwick posted this on 22nd Mar 2011
We now have confidence that the planning decision will be made in just seven days time! – Tuesday 29th March 2011, 2pm.
It has been an incredible journey and this is the next big milestone. We approached the landlords here at the Swinton Estate back in the spring of 2009… now two years ago! Over the last two years we have set up the relationship with Swinton and been in continued discussions with the AONB and the local planning authority. The planning application was completed and finalised in June last year and submitted to the council. We have then been in very detailed discussions with the council since then… the planning application will have been live for nine months when we hear the final outcome.
Although the journey has been incredibly hard work, it has also been very rewarding! It’s very reassuring that the council and their supporting consultees have approached our project with the level of attention and diligence that they have. I genuinely believe that the planning process has refined and shaped the proposal into something even more sympathetic and attuned to its surroundings. The final set of plans are really exciting… they look and feel real… I look at the site and ‘see it’ in its finished form. - let’s hope it goes through! – I can’t wait to get building.
We’ll keep you updated!
Sam Hardwick posted this on 04th Jan 2011
We had an Earthquake last night and the whole house shook! – Amazing.
I went online first thing this morning to get the grid reference of the epicentre… it turns out that it is right underneath us… literally just three miles away! Take a look at this pdf from the British Geological Survey showing the details.
Happy New Year!
Sam Hardwick posted this on 27th Nov 2010
So… she arrived in June and it was love at first sight! ... however, the MOT was due in August and then my love waned a little.
But the dream stayed alive! – I was looking for the smallest, lightest 4x4 that I could buy… something that would be very fuel efficient and competent in thick snow… I didn’t mind if I had to adapt it a bit.
I settled on a classic 999cc Fiat Panda 4x4. It turned out that it was so cheap because much of the floor had rotted out… yep… we we’re looking at more welding than most garages would do in a year. So I got in touch with my uncle who is a 4x4 expert… he’s got several and is gifted with vehicles… especially welding. After a full weld-up, service, new door, brake strip-down and rebuild, spotlights, Lancia rally alloys and wide tyres (oh, and MOT, insurance and tax of course)... we’re ready for the winter.
I might look like bit of a Wally but I’m pretty sure it is the most environmentally friendly 4x4 in Yorkshire. And the physics of this little beast means that I stand more chance than most when driving over ice to get to The Bivouac HQ!
Sam Hardwick posted this on 28th Sep 2010
So… we were expecting a decision today on the planning application for The Bivouac Swinton; but we have decided to delay the decision. It’s a shame as I feel like I have been working through loads of design detail for a very long time… BUT I realise that it’s so important to get this stuff right. So we shall press on.
So, we have encountered a few challenges. Quick headlines…
The ecologists felt that we hadn’t adequately surveyed the site for bats. We have therefore done another bat survey and submitted the results for their consideration. We’ve also given some extra thought to this special location… we are alongside a special moorland site which is home to some very special species of birds. – we’ve added a few details to make sure the birds are disturbed as little as possible.
The transport guys have some concerns. We have had a transport engineer get into the numbers, do some maths and look at the best ways that we can keep traffic to a minimum. We’re passionate about sustainability so it’s been great fun looking for ways to keep cars off the road and encourage guests to make responsible decisions. I’m hoping many guests bring their walking boots and mountain bikes!
The Landscape Architect has asked for a bit more info too so we’re pulling that together.
If anyone has ever got any questions PLEASE feel free to get in touch. – you’d be very welcome to the site to discuss plans. I have seen that a few people have written to the council with concerns where one or two their concerns are incorrect or misinformed. I’m saddened to see that people carry concerns about the project which are, in some cases, based on an inaccurate interpretation of the scheme.
Call anytime. 01765 535020
Sam Hardwick posted this on 06th Sep 2010
Hi folks, just a quick update on the planning application for The Bivouac Swinton.
We’ve been working on the details of this project for such a long time that we hopefully had most angles covered… but a couple of consultees have raised some concerns. If you’re not familiar with how the planning system works then here’s the basics… we submit a planning application with loads of separate reports about all the details of our proposal. Those separate reports get duplicated and sent to all sorts of offices and experienced professionals who then comment on the overall proposals as well as considerations specific to their particular field of expertise. These different offices and professionals are referred to as ‘consultees’.
Two consultees have raised concerns. We’re now talking to those consultees to understand their concerns more fully and we are looking for ways to amend our plans to take into account the concerns raised. We’ve been given a bit more time to do this, so a planning decision is now likely to be at the end of September.
Thanks to everyone for your support and interest. Feel free to get in touch anytime.
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