Ecosystem restoration & regenerative design
There are seven core themes that together provide
the framework for all activities and endeavours at
Furnace Brook – Food, water, shelter, waste, energy,
transport and biodiversity.
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Through the appropriate integration of closed-loop designs and sensitivity to these themes in the context of the land itself, the on-site team’s and visitors’ endeavours are daily gently having a regenerative positive impact on the area. In turn, through a conscious and thoughtful approach to these themes, individuals and groups are able to experience increased health and vitality.
There are 7 core themes that we work with and our objectives in the medium term are:
On site Produce (Fish, Veg, eggs,mushrooms)
sourced from Polytunnel, Veg beds, aquaponics greenhouses and Forest Garden areas; supplemented by off site Produce (Inc. meat) from local farms and markets
100% from the site, through applying a range of appropriate solar and waste based intermediate technologies
‘Earth Homes… Homes that don’t cost the earth’….Developing a new model for healthy sustainable living
Sourced on site
A) From Lake & streams
B) From borehole
All land and lake management activities increase on site biodiversity
People powered, pony powered and solar powered (Electric Vehicles recharged from on site renewable energy sources)
On site Upcycling Activities producing
C) Materials for… buildings, products, artworks +
Food is predominantly sourced from local farmbased suppliers and from food growing initiatives on site. There is a programme for increasing significantly on-site production over the next 3-4 years through newly planted forest garden areas and aquaponics greenhouses alongside conventional food growing initiatives. This programme is planned to yield in particular additional quantities of vegetables, nuts, berries, mushrooms, eggs and fish. We are looking for local people interested in community food projects so if you have horticultural experience, please get in touch.
Water is sourced from the on-site borehole for drinking and washing. This iron-rich water is also available for the onsite microbrewery. For other purposes such as irrigation for food growing, the water comes from the lake and nearby streams.
All shelters are constructed through the creative applications of traditional building vernaculars, utilising local sustainable wood and other materials, often sourced on site where there is a carefully managed supply of alder, willow, hazel and chestnut. Other building materials are nearly always repurposed from on-site or locally. Innovation and experimentation are at the heart of each project, adapting each shelter to the landscape and its own unique surroundings.
Over 90% of conventional on-site ‘waste’ is reconfigured and repurposed for a wealth of uses and outputs including compost and fertilizer, energy generation and building materials. Anything that hasn’t found the next stage of its purpose is stored or used for creating art.
Our objective is to be fully self-sufficient in our energy needs in the medium term, through a combination of intermediate technologies and latest innovations in the field of renewable energy and energy storage. Specialists from The Carbon Free Group CIC are providing appropriate guidance and inputs, including the trialling of some bespoke new technologies.
Two Electric vehicles, both recharged on-site from renewable energy sources, are operated at Furnace Brook, one for use solely on site and the other for local transport (including collecting visitors from nearby train stations). Horsepower is used in various ways with two sturdy ponies pulling both carriages and carts, carrying produce and people.
A small powered boat is also available to allow individuals to travel up the lake to the retreat’s own jetty.
Furnace Brook is a biodiversity hotspot, for aquatic and land-based fauna and flora. All land and lake management activities are undertaken with the purpose of maintaining and increasing further the on-site biodiversity. The team are working alongside local universities to measure and monitor the improvements in biodiversity over the coming years to help inform our actions.