How can Kelston Roundhill, Roundhill Barn and its natural surroundings best support health, learning, happiness and restoration of nature? That’s the question a dozen of us met to consider on a chilly and quite extraordinarily beautiful 21 January.
Roundhill Barn in January sun above Keynsham and Saltford lost in the fog.
It was a gifted and diverse group combining experience in ecopsychology, psychotherapy, social enterprise and charity work, service design, elder care, general practice, nature based facilitation, outdoor activities, ecology, education and more. Some were new to the place, others spoke of a lifelong love for it or of specific transformative moments and how this space naturally lends itself to new thinking, big ideas and beautiful experiences.
Here’s a synopsis of what we discussed.
Many groups could benefit from what Kelston Roundhill offers. We talked about patients with a challenging diagnosis or after recovery. Also the elderly, students for learning or pastoral care, professionals such as doctors teachers carers or probation officers, faith groups, and the bereaved.
There is a pressing need for people to maintain their connection to nature (see biophilia) which is under constant challenge. We need a sense of wonder and possibility at this time. Children need to grow up realistic about risk, and build resilience and confidence. We need a growing community, and places like this for conversation, recovery, inspiration. We have to have places that are clear of bureaucracy and endlessly measuring everything where that seems to be the only focus. We need to escape from internal combustion engines, plastics, stress and toxic technology.
Many thanks to those pictured who came from far and wide to share thoughts; also to Graham and Harry who had to leave early.
Many people just enjoy Kelston Roundhill in their own way, without help from any intermediary, using the permissive paths to reach the summit. Several schools use Roundhill Barn already on a relatively informal open arrangement. It has proven it’s suited to cultural events: music, poetry, drama, spoken word. But we could present it more specifically as a asset to support specialists providing health, social care and education services on a community and social prescribing model (see various descriptions of social prescribing, eg BMJ, Wikipedia, Kings Fund).
With tight control on overheads and a reaslitic approach to compliance costs we felt that offering Roundhill Barn for such purposes could be financially viable as well as truly worthwhile. It would be down to the service provider, educators and others to measure impact to the standard their funding agencies require. As land owner and landlord our focus is to maintain and open up the place, to make decisions about access, provide and maintain appropriate infrastructure to meet needs and make decisions about land management and ecological restoration.
We agreed to feed back to today’s participants (hence this post; job done, comments welcome) and remain open to pursuing contacts and suggestions consistent with this model. It might require steering advice or oversight, in which case we’d have to consider what would make most respectful and effective use of people’s time and how willing people are to remain engaged. We always said the old barn would find its purpose by feeling its way forward, and this feels like a good way.
Farewell to Roundhill Barn in the evening sun after an inspiring and productive summit.