Many thanks to Sara Keene, new Regional Host Contact for Gloucestershire, who organised a very relaxed and friendly get together for local hosts at the amazing Postlip Hall, near Cheltenham on Thursday 18th June.
For those of you who don’t know, Postlip is a grade 1 listed Jacobean Manor House and tithe barn that is now operated as a co-housing community, with 15 acres of woodland, a walled garden and pasture – not forgetting the small Catholic Chapel that also stands in their grounds!
Postlip members have been hosts for almost as long as WWOOF has existed and Amanda, from the WWOOF UK team, particularly enjoyed hearing tales from Jan McMillan of the early days of WWOOF and visits by Sue Coppard – and of course there were inevitable comparisons of how WWOOF was organised then and now.
Indeed the small group that gathered got chatting and sharing anecdotes so quickly over coffee (and lots of very lovely, sticky homemade flap jack) that we almost forgot to go out on our guided tour – the highlight of which had to be two charming Kunekune pigs, Silly and Spotty (see photo). Whilst these chaps will be bacon and ham very soon there’s no doubt they are currently much loved and happy porcines.
Back in the main house we talked of many things; about foreign WWOOFers, local WWOOFing, insurance issues and the upcoming international permaculture conference in London. Special guest Page Dykstra from the Groundspring Network (an offshoot of the Landworkers Alliance), who had primarily come along to learn more about WWOOF, also opened everyone’s eyes to the issues facing the next generation of young farmers.
Although we were supposed to finish at 12.30pm, we finally bade farewell at 2.30pm having feasted on an impromptu lunch of sushi, asparagus and strawberries.
We must have made a good impression because Postlip have said they are happy to host a similar gathering in January 2016 – when hopefully more hosts will be able to down tools, step out of the familiar and join our information exchange. A formal invitation will be posted nearer the time.