Ashurst Field is a 15-acre field and is part of Hoathly Hill Community in West Sussex, owned by Hoathly Hill Trust. The Trust is a charitable company with its main object being education. The field is beginning a new phase as the person who has worked with it since 2001 moves away and the space opens up. I, together with my fellow trustees, are responsible for the management of the field as an asset of the charitable company. This design aimed to find a way to care for and realise the potential of this beautiful field.
The Design Process
I used the simple SADI (survey, analysis, design implementation) design process as a framework for this design. I went around this cycle twice and indeed the final design is again beginning with a survey of the land. In essence it has been a process of connecting people with the land and community building: first myself and my fellow trustees, then after calling for initiatives, involving people within and outside the community with the land and beginning the design process again. With the involvement and connection of more people with the land comes a more detailed survey and analysis of the land and indeed collaboration on design projects. It is my hope that through creating connections between people and the land and having a framework of caring and regenerating the land using the principles of permaculture and biodynamics, collaborative initiatives will be born that demonstrate the ethics and principles of permaculture design.
The two designs were proposals I made to my fellow trustees and community members and were reviewed and agreed in consensus decision-making processes with them. Because I was not working with permaculture designers, the nature of the design process was responsive to the needs of the community whilst applying and disseminating permaculture ethics and principles. This did not allow for an imposition of permaculture design on the process, rather an offering of proposals guided by permaculture design.
Highlights for me…
being in the field