Project information

Embercombe Eco-Cabins

We inspire people of all ages and backgrounds including school children and business leaders to reconnect with nature and community and take action for a more sustainable world. Our new eco-cabins will provide beautiful accommodation for all of our visitors as well as a training ground for people.

January 2016 - December 2016

Charity information: Embercombe

Embercombe logo
  • Need


    The problems that we see in society and the environment often seem insoluble and individuals feel powerless to bring about change. Many of these problems have their source in our disconnection from nature, from each other and even from our selves. The education of our children does little to address this disconnection; then as adults we find ourselves urged to consume more whilst struggling to find the time to connect with other people.


    We host over 3,000 adults and 700 young people each year on residential and day visits and courses at our 50-acre site in Devon. We also provide volunteering placements for people to spend at least three months working on the land and on our programmes. These experiences help transform people's views of themselves and how they can help create a more sustainable future. We also work with businesses and organisations, helping them transform their values.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To create beautiful new sleeping quarters in two sustainably built eco-cabins for our visitors.


    » Build the cabins, sourcing as many of the materials as possible from our own land, including timber from the woods and clay from the ground.
    » Work with volunteers and young people to build the cabins as training projects so they can use skills elsewhere to help solve people's housing needs.

    What success will look like

    2 completed cabins ready to use, sleeping up to 12 people. 60 people participating in building the cabins and trained in sustainable building techniques.

  • Impact


    Our ability to inspire will be strengthened by providing better facilities. Once people have had the deeply transformative experience that Embercombe provides, their lives often change in many ways - they are more emotionally resilient and capable of effecting change within their sphere of influence. We stay in touch with our network and demonstrate their success through their stories; we also carry out evaluation to measure their impact in the world.


    Adverse weather conditions could slow the programme down but a priority for each cabin will be to erect sheltered working space.
    Recruiting people to take part in the training opportunities may not be as successful as we hope but we have good experience of managing similar projects and know that the demand is there.
    Planning permission is required. We have met with the planning department and they are expecting our application shortly once design details are sorted - and they are supportive.


    We will send an update by email every 3 months until the ecocabins are complete. We'll also hold a donor event during the build programme when donors can visit the site and see work in progress.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £6,000 construction materials sourcing from our own land and outside, wood, cob, thatch etc
      £3,000 tutors tutor for the courses over 6 months, running 6 workshops, each of 1 week duration
      £3,000 internal fitting out beds, stoves, PV lights, furnishings

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    David Mann major donor £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Embercombe is a 50-acre site owned by the charity, 6 miles outside Exeter in Devon. The eco-cabins will be built close to our new Linhay Land-Based Learning centre and next to our 20-acre woodlands.


    Young people and adults visit Embercombe from all over the UK. We have strong links with organisations that work with urban communities and we often host visits by such groups. We also have good links with local schools and communities and we find that rural exclusion is a real issue that we can help address. There is a growing demand for activities that reconnect people with nature as "nature deficit disorder" grows and people look for something more meaningful in their lives.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been working in this field since 2006 and we have established a national reputation as a centre for education and leadership. Our site has developed over that time to provide a superb learning environment with a diverse range of facilities and spaces. We have extensive knowledge and experience in sustainable building and community engagement and we have run many successful courses.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mick Butler

    Mick is our Site Foreman and is a full-time volunteer. He will supervise the building project on a day-to-day basis to ensure site safety.

    Rob Kendall

    Rob is Site Manager and he will work closely with Mick to oversee the project, source materials and trouble-shoot.

    Jenny Joseph

    Volunteer Co-ordinator (and volunteer). She will coordinate the people coming on the training courses and make sure they are well-fed, dry and warm!

Our gardens where we reconnect with nature

Our gardens where we reconnect with nature


1 square metre of cedar shingles for the roof

We exist to inspire courageous action for a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Mac Macartney