The Charcoal Burners

Sorry folks! Bad weather stops play, we have had to postpone this event. Reality is that a mud bath will not be a safe and fun environment. We hope to re-schedule so watch this space.

Weekend in the Woods

Weekend In The Woods (23rd & 24th June 2012)

A unique two-day fundraising Weekend in the Woods takes place on June 23rd and 24th in aid of a new outdoor classroom and community building at Harting Primary School in South Harting, near Petersfield. At the heart of the event will be a ONE TIME opportunity to view a stunning round timber-frame eco-woodland house in Elsted - home to local charcoal producer Chris Wall-Palmer and his family, wife Lucy and four children.

The two-day event is so far supported by:

  • The South Downs National Park Authority
  • The National Trust
  • St Wilfred's Hospice
  • Cowdray Estate Forestry Department
  • Ballards Brewery... and more.
This event promises to be an inspirational forum to anyone who shares an interest in sustainable living, traditional building, woodland crafts and the future of our green and pleasant land.

Tours of Chris and Lucy's cruck-frame straw bale house, will give a valuable insight into this beautiful structure and the appeal of a sustainable woodland lifestyle - built using local materials and traditional techniques by Chris Wall-Palmer, with the valuable input of renowned local natural builder Ben Law.

Lucy explains “ Three of our four children attend Harting School which has always impressed us with its attitude and policies towards sustainability. Chris and I have been planning and building our own sustainable home in our woodland for four years. We are delighted to be able to support the school by opening our home and hosting this fundraising woodland fair. We hope that the Weekend in the Woods will open people's eyes to the possibilities of living in an eco-friendly way - as well as open their pockets to donate money towards the school's outdoor classroom - an extremely exciting and worthwhile project.”

Visitors will be treated to witnessing experienced skilled craftsmen at work as well as big machinery demonstrations. There will be opportunities to take part in hands-on workshops which will educate and appeal to all ages.

The following is a small selection of the stalls and activities:
  • Charcoal burning
  • Saw milling
  • Den building
  • Post and rail making
  • Big machinery demonstrations
  • Wood Carving
  • Shingle cutting
  • Chair making
  • Forest School workshops
  • Cob mixing, construction and sculpture
  • Woodland theme fancy dress
  • Plant stalls
  • Story telling
Food and drink will be available to buy throughout the weekend.

Admission to 'Weekend in the Woods' is free, however for those who do come along to enjoy the activities and atmosphere, a voluntary donation would be most welcome and will go towards the construction of the school's outdoor classroom, which has been designed by volunteers and will be built by Ben Law, with his team and the local community.

LIMITED parking will be provided. In keeping with the sustainable theme of the weekend, full cars park for free. This is a real opportunity to experience what can be achieved in a local and sustainable way.

Location: There will be extensive, clear signage to find us at Ingram's Copse woods, Ingram's Green Lane, Elsted Marsh GU29 0LJ

A little bit more about the outdoor classroom as background for the reason behind the fundraising event

Over the last few years, Harting Primary School has grown in the number of pupils and classes. We have worked hard to build community links and have actively promoted Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC). This roundhouse development will continue both traditions, forging new links with the community, extending learning beyond the classroom and helping to develop the grounds to enrich the children's education. At the same time, it will be a model of sustainable building involving local craftsmen from the school and village community and will provide a space for use by the community beyond the school.

For village youth groups and organisations and those working in partnership with the school, such as the NATIONAL TRUST and GREENING HARTING, we intend that the facility should be available for use for free. PRE-SCHOOL, HEARTWOOD SCHOOL and the SCOUTS, BROWNIES and BEAVERS have all indicated that it is a resource that they would like to use. We would also like the building to become an obvious location for COMMUNITY INITIATIVES such as the South Downs proposed mobile apple press, enabling villagers to work with children to process the year's apple harvest.

For the school community, the roundhouse will provide a SOCIAL FOCUS. At playtimes, it will be a place to meet and chat whilst, during the school day, one of its roles will be to provide a space for CIRCLE TIME, SCHOOL COUNCIL meetings, PHILOSOPHY 4 CHILDREN, debates, general discussion and reflection. It will also provide a PERFORMANCE SPACE for role-play, drama and poetry. Aware that some children do not have the joy of exposure to a wealth of stories, we mean to steadily improve the children's vocabulary of myth and legends and we see the roundhouse providing a wonderful STORYTELLING space for the children and, who knows, perhaps a village storytelling festival! The design is versatile, providing a frame for the children's imagination rather than a straitjacket and supporting a CREATIVE CURRICULUM approach to learning. 'It is an organic and natural response to the needs of the school, the surrounding area steeped in local history, the site and the children's playful, enquiring minds and experimental nature.' For more information on this project click here.

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