The Down To Earth Foundation, based at Mount Pleasant Eco Park near Porthtowan, prepare their educational courses from one of Cornwall’s greenest buildings .
Situated just outside of Porthtowan amongst 42 acres of organic farm land, it’s easy to see how Mount Pleasant Eco Park got its name. Having stood for over ten years, the first building is still a record breaker: having the largest load-bearing earth constructed wall in the UK.
The latest edition, the bespoke educational ‘Meeting House’ building, is home to the Down to Earth Foundation – a non-profit organisation whose aim is to educate people in sustainability and their connection to nature, using the building and wider Eco Park as an environmental showcase.
Connecting people with the environment is very much ingrained in the Eco Park’s ethos. The Park already connects people, quite literally, through its eco weddings and camping . The wood-heated barn is available to hire and holds formal events and some of the best live music to be found in Cornwall. Two footpaths criss-cross the site, opening the Park to the public; who are often intrigued by the Geodome tent, the cob-constructed courtyard and fire pit, or the recycled-tyre amphitheatre.
The Down to Earth Foundation is applying for funding and seeks to grow its educational programme. If successful, they will develop the education programme further and offer school camps and sustainability courses and workshops over the coming years. They needed a new bespoke educational building to host them. The Park’s founder, Tim Stirrup, stepped up and met their needs: designing and constructing a timber building through his company Pioneer Environmental Buildings, who also delivered the majority of the Park’s other buildings.
The new educational building’s approach to sustainability is fittingly connected: covering every imaginable green angle, from locally sourced materials and suppliers right through to using natural construction techniques. When not used by the Foundation, the building is also available for use by local businesses and community groups.
An atrium inside not only funnels sunshine into the building’s heart, it also helps occupants’ feel connected to the outside. Behind the clay plastered walls, supplied by Cornish company Clay Works, recycled newspaper ensures the building is super-insulated; staying cool in summer, and comfortably warm in winter. Clad on all but the north wall in Cornish Douglas fir timber, and with a sedum ‘green roof’, the building sympathetically blends in to the surrounding countryside.
Tim and the Foundation not only hope the building will educate people in and build a stronger connection with nature – but also that Pioneer Environmental Buildings’ timber homes, live and work units, and community buildings will provide Cornwall with more low-impact green buildings, better-connected to the Cornish landscape and people.
To learn more of Pioneer Environmental Buildings’ ethos and turnkey construction solutions, or to arrange a free consultation to see if your needs can be met with a low-impact timber building, please call Tim on 01209 891500 or visit.