Regenerative Living Part Three: Woodland Cottage

Hammock welcoming the first permaculture intern to Tanglewood Farm
Introducing Woodland Cottage, a symbol of societal healing and regeneration on Tanglewood Farm. The vision for Woodland Cottage is more than just accommodations for the permaculture interns. It is a place where we can co-create space for the healing and regeneration of soil, soul and society, so that all flourish.

The Cottage

Tada! It is here at last. Woodland Cottage. After four long years of navigating red tape, tradies of multiple varieties, Covid restrictions and many other obstacles, Woodland Cottage is built. As I type it is almost ready for occupation. 

The vision of an extra dwelling at Tanglewood specifically for providing the opportunity for permaculture internships, community building and hospitality is now a reality. At the time of writing, it is not quite ready for visitors, but it is so close I can almost smell the ink drying on the much-prized Certificate of Occupation. 

Woodland Cottage and Societal Healing and Regeneration

Woodland Cottage is symbolic of societal healing and regeneration. It is a metaphor for relationship and it is also a literal place of hospitality, shelter and connection. 

  • it is literally connected to the land-on a slab, giving thermal mass
  • it is literally connected to nature, nestled in a planted coppicing woodland, oriented to be solar passive and with windows to let in sunshine, fresh air and connect the inside visually with the outside
  • it is also pivotal in the logistical enabling of emerging relationships and continuing flourishing of people and planet in the microcosm of Tanglewood
Sitting area in front of Woodland Cottage. The bench and table give the permaculture inters a place to sit in nature.

But the Healing of Society? 

I co-create space for the healing and regeneration of soil, soul and society, so that all flourish.  This blog focuses on Woodland Cottage as an example of healing society (I have written about the healing and regeneration of soil and soul in relationship to flourishing in two previous separate blogs). 

“How can one person, however well-intentioned, heal a whole society”, I hear you ask?

I can’t. 

You can’t.

Nobody can.

Not by ourselves. 

But together, WE can begin to change ourselves, and as we change, things around and between us change. We can #BeTheChange, together. It is simultaneously incremental and impactful. It is a paradox.

And here is a glimpse of how I think it happens, in the microcosm of my own experience.

Tanglewood Hospitality

Tanglewood has naturally embraced hospitality. Living in the countryside, I have observed that friends, family and strangers, alike, enjoy visiting for a cuppa, meal or an overnight/weekend stay. In some cases, the stay has expanded into many months.

Hospitality at Tanglewood allows for the deepening of connection with nature, the inner connection with self, and the mutual deepening of interconnectedness between people. It is highly personal and completely wholistic. It is never entirely replicable and synergistically, always more than the sum of the parts.

Volunteers on Tanglewood Farm sharing a meal after learning permaculture methods. And healing society while healing the land.

Nourishing, Healing, and Regeneration

Hospitality provides wholistic nourishment – bodymindspirit. Upon leaving Tanglewood there is often a comment to the effect that the visitor feels better than when they arrived, having been: 

  • nourished by nature and by food prepared with love and care, directly from the garden
  • nourished by conversations, walks and time spent in the open air
  • nourished by the opportunity to embrace a quieter, simpler way and pace of living
  • nourished by the opportunity to simply be, and be together.

This is not Linear

With nourishment healing begins. Healing is part of the regeneration process. Regeneration leads to flourishing. However, this is not a simple linear process with a beginning and end. There is no clear beginning and never an end. It is highly complex, circular and spiral, individual and communal. Hard work and effortless.

Community Along the Way

In our experience, flourishing emerges as relationship between soil, soul and society develops and unfolds into community. 

In addition to many visitors to Tanglewood, over the past 10 years we have also had multiple people working with us in the garden. 

  • advising and inspiring us our permaculture plan
  • sharing specific horticultural skills
  • helping with weeding, pruning, shifting mulch, building the tool shed 
  • engaging in myriad of other tasks which 2 acres of vegetables, an orchard, a fledgling hazelnut grove, a planted coppicing woodland and extensive gardens offer. 

We have enjoyed not only the benefit of their expertise and labour, but their company. We have been mutually nourished and have been reciprocally enriched by conversation, much laughter, sharing story, cups of tea and relaxed moments over meals. The relationships have been more than transactional, and comfortably morphed into friendships. 

Community Hiding in Plain Sight

Slowly but surely, we observe that we are in the process of building a network of people who have invested and benefitted from time at Tanglewood. We are co-creating a community.

Society is comprised of many networks, neighbourhoods and communities. Tanglewood community is continually growing and ranges widely in backgrounds, ages, and abilities. 

Tanglewood community does not exist in isolation but is connected to larger communities including the local Southern Harvest Farmer’s Markets; the Permaculture community, the Community land on which we live, and the local town community. 

Now the Tricky Question I Know you are Eager to Ask

“What role will the actual Woodland Cottage play in nourishing, healing and regenerating society?”

That is also the question we are asking ourselves as I write this blog. We have had several false starts with possible occupants. We are now excited about a Permaculture Internship Program at Tanglewood. 

Woodland Cottage will provide physical accommodation for the interns. Tanglewood will accommodate learning, sharing, growing and caring as we tend the land together.

In between internships we have the option of using the cottage for other forms of hospitality, workshops and short-term emergency accommodation.

As with all stories, Woodland Cottage is an emerging story.

View of Tanglewood Farm from a window of Woodland Cottage. This cottage provides our regenerative living interns a space of their own while they learn farming that heals the soul, soil, and society.

Not the Conclusion

Breaking news: We gave our first intern! Hot off the Tanglewood internship page going live we have lined up our first intern for July-September 2024.

Truth is stranger than fiction in many instances and this is one of them.

Rachael Massey doing Goat Yoga in San Juan Capistrano, CA. She will join us on Tanglewood Farm as a Permaculture Intern.

Introducing Rachael Massey

Rachael is the face of Winter and Willow. She is the wonderful web manager for Pomegranate Circle website, which is where the Tanglewood intern page is hosted. And is exactly how she learned about the internship, while uploading the content to my website!

What was particularly exciting about Rachael’s internship application is her vision-she wants the opportunity to steep herself in hands-on permaculture as the first step to her bigger vision. Rachael has a #BeTheChange you want to see approach to life which syncs with our approach to life at Tanglewood.

I invite you to catch up with Rachael and hear from her perspective what it is like to organise an internship opportunity read more

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