Barbara Jones and Isabella Tree at Weald and Downland Museum

Permaculture Magazine
Thursday, 18th April 2019

Natural strawbale builder, Barbara Jones, and author of 'Wilding', Isabella Tree, are speaking at the Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex this spring.

This spring sees two speakers from the world of permaculture and natural living appearing at the Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex.

Iconic natural builder, Barbara Jones will be exploring healthy homes from natural materais on Wednesday 24 April, 6.30 – 8pm.

Learn how using natural materials can create healthy living and working environments with excellent indoor air quality, that are cosy, delightful and easy to heat. This talk focuses on building with straw, either in the artisan way as a self/community build, or with pre-fabricated panels for speed. It will show you the range of what is possible with this traditional material, as it has been adapted for 21st century living. You will find out why there are no mould or condensation problems in these houses, how you can build completely without cement (even the foundations), how they can reach Passive House standards, and why their owners love them so much!

Barbara pioneered the idea and inspiration of strawbale natural building in the UK in 1994 and has led the growing movement to improve our built environment and speak out about the problems and health risks of certain manufactured products and practices that are widely used today. She is internationally recognised for her work in developing the design of strawbale buildings using only natural materials, speaks at International conferences, and has a wide network of colleagues and contacts within her field. Alongside her passion for building, Barbara is also internationally acclaimed for developing a unique and empowering way of teaching practical skills on building sites. She is the author of Building with Straw Bales, a manual for architects and self-builders, that has been continuously in print since 2002, last revised and updated in 2015. 

Author of Wilding – the return of nature to a British farm, Isabella Tree, will be speaking on Tuesday 7th May, 6.30 – 8pm, sharing the amazing story of the rewilding of the Knepp Estate in West Sussex where she lives with her husband, the environmentalist Charlie Burrell.

After decades of intensive farming, their 3,500 acres are now home to critically endangered nightingales, turtle doves and purple emperor butterflies, as well as burgeoning populations of other species. The success of Knepp, where habitats are created by free-roaming animals, challenges conventional ideas about our past and present landscape, and points the way to a wilder, richer future – a countryside that benefits farming, nature and us.

The cost for these talks is £14 per person and includes tea, coffee and cake which is available from 6pm. For more details or to book please visit our website: or call our courses team on 01243 811021.

Useful links

Women natural builders

Trees can rescue climate change

Book review: Wilding: the return of nature to a British farm