Although when a group registers with EW it is a project they register not the whole organisation, when we visit a group it is important that we get a feel of everything they are doing. That way we can support the organisation more fully by looking out for additional funding for all aspects of their work and also see if there are other projects we could register with EW. I recently went on a monitoring visit to Plas Dwbl. This is an off shoot of Ruskin Mill, one of several around the UK. This one is based on a biodynamic farm and supports young people aged 16 to 25 on the autistic spectrum to move on to adulthood. I can think of no better place to bring out all the potential of these young people in a caring and nurturing environment which still manages to challenge. The project we are supporting is the biodynamic farming. This is a very low impact form of organic farming which plants according to the phases of the moon and uses special herbal mixtures to revive the soil. Since I had been there last, at my recommendation, they’d had the local biodiversity officers out and were thrilled to find that many rare plants which were present when it was surveyed in the 1980s were still there. I admired the bodgers camp they had constructed with an EW grant in the woods, looked at an old polytunnel which 2 long-term volunteers were bringing back to life with much enthusiasm and then was taken to see the new forge. Goodness me what a wonderful place, the building itself is very attractive, made of wany edge wood and looking like a very posh bird hide. It is not a surprise to me that black smiths were considered to be a bit magical throughout the ages. Although the forge was not in use the smell and the space was so evocative. I can’t wait to go back and see it in action making things of beauty which have a practical function as is the Ruskin Mill way.
Jo, National Trust EW Development Officer