Felin Uchaf is a Social Enterprise pioneering a holistic approach to Education & the Environment and to Culture & Community, on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales.
The Felin Uchaf Project grew out of a vision to create a place where people and the land on which they worked could nourish each other in body, soul and spirit and to create a Community Enterprise Centre based on a holistic approach to environmental and cultural education. People of all ages and backgrounds, both local and from all parts of the world come to volunteer, lend a helping hand and participate in the craft and building courses.
Currently in year 13 of a planned 15 year building development programme, the entire centre is one big building project - it shows how buildings from the earliest times to today's contemporary eco-buildings are created using locally sourced natural materials. All the buildings and landscaping have been created entirely by trainees and volunteers.
They are funded through gifts and donations, trusts and grant giving organisations and generate their own income from running courses, skills workshops, hosting cultural events and through selling their crafted produce & delicious organic-biodynamic produce through a community veg box scheme and their farm shop.
When I volunteered at the Felin Uchaf they were beginning their Sustainability Centre - an extension to the main farm building which would house the cafeteria, office space and volunteer facilities. I had the fortune to learn oak timber framing, using traditional techniques and tools to produce the five post and beam frames and bespoke circular cruck frame end. It was a wonderful experience with excellent guidance and teaching from the centre's Project Manager Dafydd Davies-Hughes.
Whilst at the centre I got to try other crafts such as furniture making, thatching, lime washing, stone walling and cladding, while using existing skills to set out the frames of the building, and adding to the design of some details. The possibility to learn new skills and techniques is endless at the Felin Uchaf, and the life experience that I received from the lifestyle, people, culture and community has changed my life and led to my getting a job in Anglesey for WM Design & Architecture where I worked as an Architectural Assistant for nine months. It is also where I learned about the Centre for Alternative Technology where I went on to study and receive my DipArch degree.
Some photos courtesy of Felin Uchaf.
Many photos courtesy of Felin Uchaf, Flo Paz and John Chambers.
A time-lapse of the timber frame raising at Felin Uchaf on the visitor centre in the summer of 2013. An oak timber frame made by volunteers and designed by Dafydd Davies-Hughes for the Felin Uchaf centre.