Just turn up
Monkton Wyld Court is an educational centre for sustainable living, run by a resident community with the help of volunteers. It runs courses on low-impact and land-based skills together with B&B accommodation and venue hire for retreats and weddings.
When the main building was made over to the trust, it was far from green, with coal fires in every room service by an army of domestic workers. Big single glazed windows leak heat copiously. Some of these issues have been addressed with solar photovoltaic panels, and a heating system run off a new wood burning boiler and second-hand solar thermal tubes, as well as a wood-burning cooking stove and other stoves in communal rooms.
It is in the other buildings, and in the 11 acre grounds, where most progress has been made. Lynden and Sarah’s house is built from compressed straw bales, but is not open this year as it is being extended. Other buildings include compost toilets, some producing grade 1 compost (suitable for food crops) , others grade 2. A reed bed filters the sewage from the main house. Rainwater is harvested for flushing in the acWET system (Wetland Ecosystem Treatment) filters the sewage from the main house. Rainwater is harvested for flushing in the accommodation block. Another house is a wood clad caravan, providing well-insulated accommodation at low extra cost. Six off-grid dwellings show different approaches to sustainable living.
“The efforts made so far include fitting solar panels to the roof, installing wood-fuelled boilers and stoves, collecting rainwater for flushing toilets and adding a reed-bed WET system for filtering sewage, building, maintaining and popularising compost toilets (our palatial ones have won prizes!), using food waste for compost, growing our own fruits and vegetables, running our own micro-dairy, farming the land organically, using scythes to manage the grassland, recycling and reusing as much as possible, bulk-buying from ethical suppliers and cooking and eating communally, car-sharing, and lots and lots of people power and hand tools."
Sustainability at Monkton Wyld (PDF, 4MB)