The Plan

Every successful project starts with a plan, so what is ours?

First of all, we need to get some supporters - members of the public who are interested in the whole scheme and would like to help or visit, and sponsors who will provide financial, legal and practical help. To do this, we need a practical website where people can come for information, a briefing pack explaining what we want to do, and some potential locations around the country where we think the park would prosper.

Once we know we have support, including from county planners, we can start looking for land. This is possibly going to be the hardest bit - finding and buying the right amount of the "right" land, and ensuring we have planning permission at least to get us going with initial developments such as the main building, storage/work barn, and our home.

With the land in our grubby mitts, as it were, we will need to rope in the sponsors who promised us support up front. Some may be providing financial support (which of course we'll need throughout), some may be helping with features of the site (earthworks, equipment, materials), and others may be providing exhibits. What we have to do will really depend on the state of the land, the time of year and the weather - we'll want to at least plot out where things will go and do some basic groundwork such as sowing the meadow and beginning the planting of hedges and trees.

We'll first want to ensure we have access to the site - at least one gated entrance with a decent surface to drive in and park. Then we'll look to build our first building - the strawbale storage barn. This will be a basic rectangular structure with a single sloped "green" roof, large enough to accomodate at least a couple of vehicles, storage shelves and workbenches. The barn will eventually be the place where we will store a small tractor and trailor, tools etc plus animal feed and fruit and veg from the gardens.

The barn will be the base from which we'll work to build the rest of the site, so it's important it's up and ready for the next stages. Ideally, we'll then work on our house - another strawbale structure with a pitched roof which will have a south-facing slope of solar panels and a north-facing "green" slope (sedum on a thin mat to reduce weight). We want to live at the park because it will be a way of life rather than a job - with jobs such as mowing, pruning, tending to the crop plants and flowering plants, adding to and repairing things around the park, and operating the camp site once that it up and running. Living off-site would make the endeavour almost impossible.

At this point we'd like to make sure the parking area is serviceable and start accepting visitors - perhaps on a "pay what you see fit" donation basis. There will likely be little to see besides, perhaps, some countryside - but we're sure that people will enjoy visiting regularly to see how things are taking shape, and perhaps even joining in.

If things go to plan, some of our sponsors will be providing exhibits which we hope they will help install. So from this point there should increasingly be things for visitors to see and do, and we'll start work on the main building which will house the cafe, indoor exhibits and a small shop.

From here on we'll be into business as usual - maintain the park and incrementally build it in response to visitor feedback, new sponsor input and internal initiatives.

Kick things off with mailshots

Assess resources

Buy the land

Build the barn

Create the parking

Open for visitors

Create the paths

Build exhibits

Erect the main building

Maintain and grow!