Tinker's Bubble is a community and smallholding of around 40 acres near Yeovil, Somerset.
I visited for their open day and could not stop smiling the whole time I was there...
such an incredible place!
We entered at the bottom of the hill, and immediately came across a curious contraption... a steam engine powering a saw mill. The inhabitants get up at 5.30am to stoke the fire in the engine (it burns wood), to get it ready to roll at 9am. They then attach a belt, which powers the saw and cuts huge logs of wood. Incredible to see! The trees are felled by hand with saws, and the community runs weekend courses teaching people how to do it. They use douglas fir, larch and mixed broadleaf woodland.
The community makes their money from sustainable wood and also from making apple juice and selling organic vegetables at markets. On the open day the apple press was going, and the juice so tasty! They have many varieties of apple including Bramley and Discovery. They grow fruit and veg over two huge areas of land, and each of the nine inhabitants has an area to look after. Near the houses they grow the everyday veg, and at the moment they have pumpkins. On the other side of the land is their root vegetables and one of the inhabitants is growing quinoa. They use scythes for cutting hay, and sometimes a plough and horses for tilling the land.
They have sheep to look after the grass in the orchards, gypsy horses called Jim and Charlie to cart wood up and down the hills, and chickens for eggs. They also have two beautiful cows for milk, butter and cheese who they will breed alternate years and keep the calves, only taking the milk the calves don't need.
Their housing is on top of the hill in the midst of stunning, clean woodland. They have a ban on fossil fuels and use solar panels for their electricity, and a small wind turbine that tops it up, which powers everything they can possibly need. They have spring water on tap, and use compost toilets.
The houses are very comfortable, made of wood or strawbale with cobbing to finish, all very low impact. There is the huge community area and kitchen with a thatched roof that is currently being re-done. The nine inhabitants (7 adults 2 children) take it in turns to have their communal duties, which involves cooking for the 'family' every day.
Keeping it all up together is hard work, but so much fun, and the inhabitants also do their own projects alongside. It is possible to volunteer here through Wwoofing, and there is comfortable guest accommodation for volunteers. It would be a wonderful place to spend a few weeks connecting with the land and learning about sustainable living. They are also open to new live in members!
For more info please see: https://tinkersbubble.wordpress.com/