Launch of our new management plan, October 2020
We are delighted to announce the publication of our new management plan for the meadows. A massive thank you to Robin Toogood for this who guided us every step of the way and drafted the whole thing. Without his help we would still be working from the back of a fag packet. The plan has clarified our vision of how we can best steward the meadows and will serve us for many years to come. You can have look at it by clicking on the link below.
Update June 2020
It is a great disappointment to us as CIC directors that most of the work and activities we had planned for 2020 have been brought to a halt by the global Coronavirus pandemic and the UK lockdown.
This has inevitably meant that none of the Summer Camps will be able to happen this year. It caused us a fair bit of grief to break the uninterrupted twenty-year tradition of camps here, because it is precisely from that history and those camps that the Community Interest Company was able to emerge, with its commitment to caring for the Meadows and ensuring that transformative camps can continue to happen.
We held our last monthly Volunteer Work Day in March, just before the lockdown started, and although restrictions on travel and social gathering outside have been eased a little, we don’t yet feel ready to restart a programme of work on the land by our regular volunteers. Directors who live locally have been to the Meadows periodically to check that things are ok in our absence, and to do essential tasks.
Management of the land hasn’t stopped though. Fortunately we have been able to make arrangements with our neighbour and his contacts for the field to be cut for hay in June, and then to be grazed by horses and cattle through to the autumn. We may see an unexpected benefit in a year: with more grazing and less repeated mowing of the field for the summer camps, the land will hopefully enrich itself with a greater variety of wildlife of all types.
Meanwhile we have been busy in other ways. With the generous help of Robin Toogood we now have a very impressive and detailed management plan for the meadows. This will help us immensely with programming tasks during the year and has given us a much clearer vision of our goals. When we have finally crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s we will make this available on our website
We have also been putting energy into fundraising. Last year’s appeal raised a remarkable £16000+. We have now started working with Tamsin Larby, a professional fundraiser, who is helping us source grant funding for some of the upcoming work in the meadows such as hedge laying and the creation of an enlarged wetland area. We are very grateful for both Tamsin and Robin’s skill and generosity.
Overall we are very happy with how the CIC has taken shape and the gradual evolution of the meadows into an increasingly diverse and beautiful place. There are plenty of benefits in the meadows having a rest from human habitation this year and we look forward to watching how the meadows respond.
Thank you for your support and interest in our work.
Planning Status @ January 2020
When we first took possession of the meadows we envisaged building a barn for use as our field kitchen and storage and extending our season to allow for a few additional smaller events to take place during the summer. This is no longer our intention.
Instead our intention now is simply to secure our right to hold the existing summer camps within the current timeframe while continuing with our year-round work of caring for the land and its biodiversity. We have dropped our vision both of a building and a longer season.
To this effect we are currently in a planning application process with Dartmoor National Park. Our application is for a “certificate of lawful use” which, if successful, will simply confirm our legal entitlement to host the existing summer camps.
The reason we need this certificate is that the full length of our occupation of the meadows during the summer holidays is 50 days which is the amount of time needed to set up, take down and to allow turnover between camps. This exceeds the 28 day allocation beyond which planning permission is needed.
So, all being well, we hope the use of these meadows will continue as it has done since 1999. If so, we look forward to providing richly transformative and inspiring events for adults and children of all ages for years to come.