Eco-retreat In Oxford Shire Organic Walled Garden
New ‘inside out’ retreat for staff and clients at Bridewell Organic Gardens Inside Out, a Cambria-based garden office company, have just completed a new garden room for staff and clients at Bridewell Organic garden and vineyard, the award winning West Oxford shire charity. Bridewell’s clients, who suffer from a range of complex mental illnesses from depression to schizophrenia, are encouraged to help tend the garden and vineyards. Their involvement forms an important part of the therapeutic process. More than twenty staff and clients previously used an old garage to relax in. So the new room, with its log-burning stove, is a very welcome addition. Clients and staff now have a peaceful, attractive place overlooking the garden to sit, have a cupper and admire their hard work. Built in just two weeks, the new room is eco-friendly by design. Gordon Smith, Inside Out’s architect explains, “We’ve constructed the room from low-toxicity materials to reduce the building’s environmental impact. It is durable, low maintenance, has an environmentally responsible finish and it’ll last for a long, long time.” Lynn Fotheringham and Gordon Smith have been building garden offices and granny flats since 2002, using their own traditional timber frame building system. “The concept is to create good looking, fully functioning outdoor living and working spaces,” says Gordon Smith. “Our buildings are about as far from garden sheds as you can get!” Bridewell General Manager Alex Taylor commented, “We chose Inside Out because of their professional response. And because their buildings were such high quality Lynn and Gordon immediately struck us as people who understood what Bridewell’s all about. Our judgement has proved correct… everyone at Bridewell thinks the new building is fantastic. It’ll make a major difference to our facilities and to how people experience the garden.” From Inside Out’s point of view, the project has been a rewarding one. “Bridewell allowed us to fully indulge our concerns for the environment, and the respect we like to give a building’s surroundings. Working with an organization that bases everything it does on organic principles has been entirely in tune with what we’re all about”, explains Lynn Fotheringham, managing director. Inside Out designs and builds to a high standard of comfort. Rooms are beautifully finished using environmentally friendly larch cladding, grown in carefully managed woodland in Scotland and Northumbria. Wherever possible, the company uses materials manufactured in the UK, with lower levels of industrial energy, chemicals and transport. All this helps customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Information for editors The charity’s organic vineyard, one of only two in the UK, won an award for its 2004 vintage. A grant from Oxford shire County Council and Oxford shire Primary Care Trust funded the new building.