Shropshire permaculture project – well worth supporting?

On a sister site the Karuna Permaculture project in Shropshire was briefly described. Yesterday we received an email message from Barbara, who organised the Birmingham fund-raising event for them last year.

Karuna aerial view website

Karuna website: Aerial view (Sept 2010) showing design of new diverse woodlands/nature reserve & arboretum, forest gardens, fruit tree nurseries, horticultural area, water holding & Low impact dwelling…Established over five years. Other pictures are from the video:

After years of struggle, the authorities – who would not accept that sustainable low impact land management and residency must co-exist in order to function properly – have granted planning permission for a straw bale round house in 2011, through Shropshire county council’s affordable self build policy. At present, this policy is unique to Shropshire, but will hopefully serve as an example that will be followed by other local authorities. 


karuna 1 smaller showing fruitThe Wheelhouse family, founders of the Karuna project, sold their home and invested their savings in 18 acres of previously mono-cultural grazing land in order to re-cycle it into a productive, diverse multi-functional educational facility that could practice and demonstrate all kinds of Permaculture experiments.

Over the past few months Karuna has laid down a hardcore base for the planned roundhouse, a road into the site and a public parking area. This essential work has cost £8,000 and exhausted the project’s funds.

karuna 2 smaller showing vegThey now need to raise £10,000 to build the foundations and floor of the roundhouse. The house, as well as being a warm and comfortable shelter, will demonstrate alternative building design and techniques including the use of straw bale and cord wood and large scale reciprocal roof.  After this stage is complete, they hope to raise funds through running courses in straw bale and reciprocal roof building.

This affordable dwelling is going to be fully compliant with national building regulations which means that our building project at Karuna will play a crucial role in showing the authorities and mainstream public that low-impact structures are a desirable, realistic and affordable option in the UK.

There is a growing interest in eco-buildings but most people can’t afford them, even if some are officially classified ‘affordable’. The Wheelhouse family wants to show people that ‘living the Permaculture dream’ can be a legitimate reality for those who are passionate about living on the land. They believe that projects like this can provide numerous benefits to society by providing information and inspiration to ‘permies’, ‘transitioners’ and people from all walks of life. This modest, low impact building itself is at the heart of a sustainable lifestyle that they believe in and want to see grow.

This funding campaign ends on Monday 28th January

I had trouble with this website – would not accept my address – but succeeded with PayPal button on

At any time a cheque (made out to Merav Wheelhouse) may be sent to Karuna, Picklescott, Church Stretton, Shropshire, SY6 6NT.


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