Preparations for the conference are well underway now, and there’s a real buzz developing as the event draws near. The site is being prepared, with paths being mown amongst the high wood sedge in the magical woodland where much of the conference will take place.
The conference site is on the edge of a 150 hectare expanse of Forestry Commission mixed woodland, some of it ancient, some plantation, and some open space (the latter being grazed at present by the Neroche herd of longhorn cattle).
There is a grove of huge veteran oaks on the site, remnants of a medievaldeer park, and these immense trees are looking down on the proceedings and offering a great atmosphere for the event. A local tree dowser has visited the oaks and dowsed them to find out if they’re happy with the event taking place – thankfully, it seems, they are!
We have three fire pits taking shape in the woodland, one central one which will be the focus for the evening activities, and two smaller ones which will provide venues for some of the workshop discussions – weather permitting! The main covered space for the event, which will be brought onto the site very soon, includes a huge three-domed Kata tent, like a triple tipi; a circus big top; and a large yurt.
From the woodland edge, the view south up towards the Blackdown Hills scarp is fantastic, and the whole location is quiet, a long way from roads or settlements, and feels very special. A band of volunteers will be invading that solitude over the next two weeks as the preparations continue, but we will be careful to hold on to the very special atmosphere we have here – because that is what will give this event its most important ingredient.