This is Hunter Basecamp at Swan Barn Farm in Haslemere. This building provides accomodation for volunteers who come for a week at a time to work on the many National Trust sites in the area. We want to add to this facility by replacing the shed on the left with an eco friendly building made from materials produced on the Black Down Estate. This will be used to house long term volunteers who will help us to manage the basecamp, its garden, and the surrounding countryside.

The second part of the project is to make Hunter Basecamp much more environmentally friendly. We want to get rid of the old environmentally inefficient and costly storage heaters and put in a new log fired biomass boiler. We also aim to have a solar powered hot water system for use in the summer. There will be solar panels generating electricity on the roof and this will all be backed up by new insulation and secondary glazing to make the building as environmentaly friendly as possible.

We want to use this project to help to bring the site alive, we want to be able to grow tree’s in a small nursery for our orchard restoration work. We want to produce some of our own food for the basecamp and thereby allow our volunteers to connect with the wider countryside. We are aiming to put in a chicken run, a vegetable garden and a beehive and we want our long term volunteers, when they arive, to help us manage this.

We think this is a really exciting project with a loads of potential, we want to demonstrate how it is possible to build in a more sustainable way, by using materials produced locally in a way which benefits wildlife. The new accommodation will enable us to recruit long term volunteers who we anticipate will be a great help in managing the property. 

We had been hoping to start the build in 2010 but unfortunately had to put the project start date back by a year due to complications with getting the funding and design process completed in time. It was always going to be tight though, and we think that starting next spring is actually going to be a positive move as it will give us a better lead in time. This should mean that we can get all of the processes and materials in the right place at the right time.

We are hoping to start on the planning approvals process next month, and anticipate this being a complicated process. We are also in the midst of fundraising for the project. Fortunately we have a number of very good advisors on the project team who will be helping to steer us through this and avoid the many potential pitfalls. 

We hope the many people who were so keen to come along this year to help will still be keen next year, we will be relying on our many volunteers for a number of key aspects of the build.