Solas EcoVillage Project (Scotland) Seeks Members & Land

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at
Sat Feb 25 17:47:00 GMT 2012

On 24 Feb 2012, at 12:28, clv101 wrote:

> How does Solas fit in with the Crofting Reform Act? It seems that  
> this new legislation supports woodland crofts for the first time  
> and groups of people are able to purchase land under new community  
> right to buy legislation.

See below, excerpt from an article in The Land 11, page  26. The  
government advice on this is found at this link : http:// I' don't know whether Solas would  
be able to benefit from the right to buy, as it is not a local  
community. Cheers Simon

In Summer 2004, Chapter 7 News published an article entitled  
“Forestry Commission Smallholdings”, in which we cited a proposal  
from Donald McPhillimy, of Reforesting Scotland, for “Forest Crofts  
on ex-Forestry Commission Land”. “A typical forest village”, he  
wrote, “would consist of a cluster of 10 to 30 houses each with a  
forest lot of 10 to 30 hectares of plantation. There would be an  
additional forest resource beyond, comparable to the common grazing,  
which could be worked collectively or made available to anyone  
needing more land than allocated.”
Two years later, in 2006, David Blair, who was already living on his  
pioneering forestry smallholding, was outlining proposals for a pilot  
Forest Village Project close to the village of Tighnabruaich, Argyll.  
It was another four years before residents at Tighnabruaich finally  
managed to seal the acquisition of  the 125ha Kilfinan Forest from  
the Forestry Commission. Among their future plans are the  
establishment of six “Forest Crofts.”
Meanwhile Forestry Commission Scotland  were mulling over these  
ideas. In 2005 they  formed a Forestry Crofts Steering Group which  
the following year recommended that guidance on how to establish  
forest crofts should be tacked onto the National Forest Land Scheme,  
which gives community organisations the opportunity to buy or lease  
Forestry Commission land. That guidance is now in place and can be  
viewed in several documents on Forestry Commission Scotland’s website. 
2  In August 2011, leases were signed for the first three forest  
crofts,  on land that had been bought from the Forestry Commission  
by  North West Mull Community Woodland.
It remains to be seen whether “Forest Crofts” and “Forest Villages”  
will catch on in Scotland, or indeed spread south of the border.  
Perhaps these concepts are unnecessary in England where land  
ownership is a good deal less concentrated than it is in Scotland,  
and where, over the last 20 years, our woods and forests have been  
gradually repopulated by a new breed of independent woodlander. What  
is necessary is to dispel, for once and for all, the absurd notion  
that our forests can be managed properly by a ratio of one person for  
every 500 acres.
  1. H L Edlin, Britain’s  New Forest Villages, Unasylva - Vol. 6,  
No. 4  FAO Corporate Document Repository, 

> --- In Diggers350 at, Will Todd <todski at ...> wrote:
>> Dear Fielders,
>> I would like to draw your attention to the Solas Project which  
>> aims to
>> start a forest eco-village.
>> Currently we number about 25 individuals comprised of 15 households.
>> Households are either individuals, co-habitants (house sharers) or
>> families. Our aim is to raise £100,000 for the purchase of at  
>> least 70acres
>> of land. This will be raised through donations of £5000 per  
>> household, so
>> ideally we are looking for 20 households in total. We will happily  
>> increase
>> the budget (and land size) to fit more households.
>> Member donations are beginning to come in and we have amassed a  
>> total of
>> £27,000 into the Land Purchase Fund. Our policy is that donations are
>> returnable at any time up until a piece of land has been decided  
>> upon and
>> bought. This allows anyone objecting in any way to withdraw before  
>> a piece
>> of land is bought without loosing money.
>> We have spent one year and a bit holding monthly meetings to  
>> discuss how we
>> intend to operate, build and work with the eco-village. Full  
>> details of
>> what we have discussed can be found
>> here< 
>> details>
>> .
>> Our intent is to follow a so called "no-planning" approach. Part  
>> of our aim
>> is to confront land access restrictions by challenging the  
>> authority of the
>> planning system to dictate land use. We aim to hold land in trust  
>> as a
>> means to befound and confront planning jurisdiction.
>> We are setting up two workers co-ops at the minute as a means to  
>> provide
>> sustainable, land based livelihoods for Solas inhabitants. One is  
>> mobile,
>> chip-fat powered, wood milling and timber building service aimed at
>> community woodlands. We will fund this ourselves or perhaps we  
>> will be
>> lucky with one of the grants that have been applied for. The other  
>> is a
>> yurt builders co-op for which comprehensive training is available.  
>> With
>> such projects, we aim to make living in the woods possible by  
>> generating a
>> small income for individual members through co-operation and skill  
>> sharing.
>> Currently, there is one strong contender for mixed forested land in
>> Galloway.
>> We are looking for people who want to learn more. We are looking  
>> also for
>> new members interested in pitching in their input to the project and
>> working towards these aims. We hope to attract members with new  
>> insights
>> and experience. Anyone looking for a sane, sustainable, local,  
>> land-based
>> livelihood in the woods should make themselves known on the
>> forum<>.
>> You can register to the forum (to be able to post messages on it)  
>> at this
>> address < 
>> mode=register>. New
>> enquiries should be posted in the Scotland
>> section<> of
>> the forum (hit 'NEWTOPIC' once registered:).
>> What becoming a member entails:
>> Potential new members will be expected to attend our meetings.  
>> This allows
>> potential members to meet who they will be living with and get to  
>> know
>> them. It also allows potential members to assess whether this is  
>> the right
>> project for them and begin contributing to the consensus decision  
>> making
>> process. These meetings take place the first weekend of each  
>> month. The
>> next meeting is to take place from 11am on the 3rd and 4th of  
>> March at:
>> Flat 2/1
>> 46 Bentinck St
>> Glasgow
>> G3 7TT
>> If you become interested in joining Solas after attending  
>> meetings, we ask
>> that you make a deposit of £100 towards your £5000 donation to the  
>> Land
>> Purchase Fund.
>> We are also looking for candidates for land purchase. This must be  
>> wooded,
>> ideally south facing and be in Scotland.
>> Again, please register on the
>> forum<>.
>> You need to register to the forum to be able to post messages on  
>> it. This
>> can be done at this
>> address<>.
>> New enquiries should be posted in the Scotland
>> section<> of
>> the forum (hit 'NEWTOPIC' once registered:).
>> If you would like someone to get in touch with more information,  
>> please
>> email: hearth at ...
>> All the best,
>> Todski
> ------------------------------------
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