As part of the Buddhafield vision we are drawn to nature as the primary context for our life and practice — to the beauty of the natural world, to the living experience of interconnectedness it gives us, to the ancient sacred sites and landscapes around us.
Therefore we wish to create sanctuaries and shrines, for our own and others' benefit; to live simply and to live lightly on the land, using appropriate technology and exemplifying best practice in all that we do.
In 2006 we bought seventeen acres of land on Dartmoor, called ‘Frog Mill’, with the help of loans from our friends.
The site consists of several fields with thick established hedgerows a stream dividing the site and has views of Dartmoor. The site is large and has enough flat space to hold our larger retreat events, such as our family-friendly Village retreat.
Our aim for this tranquil site is to develop a magical and safe environment, providing the opportunity for adults and children to experience connection with a beautiful piece of land, hopefully for many years into the future. We are looking into various kinds of tree planting, including an organic orchard, and coppice for fuel and wildlife habitat. Taking on this project has been a leap of faith for us: in 2006 we borrowed £85,000 to buy the land and we wish to wholeheartedly thank all who have contributed £65,000 to our Land Appeal so far.
Owning this land means that our larger retreats have a site that can be developed for their needs.
On this land (very varied and including wetland and deciduous bluebell woods) we are beginning to turn our vision into reality. At Broadhembury we are now integrating the magic of our retreats with the challenge of practicing sustainable land use in a real and long-term way.
In 2004 we employed the permaculturalist Phil Corbett to carry out a survey on our land. Following this consultation, Dharmamrta developed a permaculture design for the land, which includes planting trees for firewood and for fruit; creating terraces to provide flat land for camping, and planting hedges for shelter and privacy.
Work on the design got underway during the winter of 2004, and continues. Work on the land is an integral part of at least one Buddhafield Retreat each season. Out of a desire for the wellbeing not only of humankind but also animals, birds and the earth itself, Buddhafield is taking a leading role in developing an eco-Buddhist culture in this country.
You can see some photographs of the February 2011 Tree Planting Retreat and the First Light in the Garden Event 2012 — supported by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund — both on our Flickr site.