About us

Our Vision and Values

Elfwoods was established as a local response to several global initiatives that advocate more caring, fairer and respectful ways of living. The elfwoods community strives to support positive interactions with Nature, so that present and future generations can share, learn about, care for, and enjoy its legacy. We see ourselves as stewards of the 30 acres of land entrusted to us, championing Nature and our relations with her. We aim to ensure that every visitor can share in the outstanding setting, character and tranquility of the woodland, while minimising our impact on Nature and on the local community.
So why the name ‘elfwoods’? Elves have long been described in stories as mythological guardians of forests and other natural spaces, and we found that ‘ELF’ is also a useful acronym to describe our vision, purpose and values:

Ecology, Livelihoods, Flourishing

We champion three goals for more environmentally sustainable ways of living: a rich and diverse local ecology; fulfilling local work; and resilient, flourishing local communities.

Environment, Land use, Forests

We recognise the preeminence of the natural environment to human wellbeing; the principal consideration for how land and forests can and should be used to support community life. 

Everyone, Learning, Friendships

We seek to offer everyone, irrespective of their means or abilities, somewhere uplifting to learn, appreciate and participate in caring for Nature through friendship and cooperation. 

Environmental Law Foundation

We support the Environmental Law Foundation, a charity that assists local communities facing intolerable obstacles preventing them accessing or helping to care for the natural environment.

Our Structure and Objectives

Once registered, we will operate elfwoods as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – a social enterprise that is incorporated as a charity, but not as company. At the core of our Founder’s charter are the Earth Charter(1principles, which provide the foundation for how we run elfwoods. And in meeting our objectives we are guided by Sustainable Development Goals(2), which assist us in assessing the effectiveness of our approach.

More detailed information about our vision, values, principles and practices will be made available here following registration with the Charity Commission, in the elfwoods CIO Governing Document and our Founders’ Charter.

Elfwoods Community Timberyard

The elfwoods community timberyard supports multifunctional sustainable woodland management at the site.

We encourage productive rural enterprises run co-operatively by woodsmen and woodswomen, making use of timber grown locally, with volunteer assistance from the wider elfwoods community in some woodland management and creative activities.

Our timberyard allows for locally grown timber to be processed into various useful products. This important part of trying to live more sustainably means that our woodlands are well cared for as a renewable, natural resource; in addition to providing the community with many other essential environmental services while supporting valued wildlife habitats.

In years past the elfwoods community has nurtured, supported and subsidised a local woodcrafting enterprise called Artizans, from its inception as crafters of small built structures using locally sourced timber. This enterprise has now moved on to focus more commercial activities, but we are confident that its roots in community-based forestry will serve them well in building wider acceptance of the productive use of local timber. For now we continue to support new generations of woodcraft people to learn and practice traditional woodcraft skills, making good use of and caring for the important timber resource of this region.

Elfwoods people

Many people over the years have contributed to the evolution of elfwoods. Ours has been a truly collective and co-operative effort, the creative spark instigated by our founder, Paddy Cox, but credit is really due to the friendship and open-minded, generous nature of the many people* who have been prepared to think outside the constraints of convention and habits, to explore more caring and sharing ways of living in harmony with Nature.

(1) The Earth Charter is a document with sixteen principles powering a global movement towards a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

(2) Sustainable Development Goals are aspirations universally agreed through the UN for the protection of the planet and the wellbeing of all people

*Rich, Archie, Mary, Philippe, Peggy, Marc, Fiona, Bruce, Kim, Charlotte, Jim, Steve, Sue, Becky, Josh, Andy, Katy, Jorge, Martine, Kris, Barney, Tom, Nicola, Nick, Ian, Scotty, Rob, Dan, Louise, James, Alex, Christine, Derek, Nathan, Anne, Clive, Tony W, Pete, Zoe, Tony K, Gillie, Trog, Kate, Richard, Emma, Nina, Jackie and the many others who have helped build our elfwoods community