Latest news from Monkton Wyld

Blossom Gets Away, Again!

Monkton's favourite escaping piglet is all grown up now, but her wayward ways are not forgotten.

Subsidised Course Placements for South West Dorset Residents

Thanks to generous funding from Chalk + Cheese, to the Bridport-based Skills for Self Reliance programme, Monkton Wyld Court is now offering a limited number of spaces on residential and one-day courses related to land-based skills to residents of the south west Dorset area.
The subsidy means a savings of over 70% on specified courses including Beekeeping with David Wiscombe, Low-Impact Smallholding with Jyoti Fernandes and Simon Fairlie, and workshops like soapmaking, basket weaving and more.

from March 2011

New MWC Postcards for 2011!

Following on the popularity of our 2010 calendar featuring community member Sean Marony's photographs of the Court and our beautiful grounds and inspiring views, we thought you might enjoy a set of postcards celebrating the seasons. The nominees can all be seen on flickr. Can you guess the winners?
If you would like to order a set of the five most popular, please post us a self-addressed stamped A5 envelope along with three first class letter stamps. Until 1 February, 2011, the first five people to contact us by email with the five correct photos' names will receive their own sets as a special prize for knowing us so well!

Also coming soon is an exclusive postcard designed and painted by Gill Barron depicting various aspects of life at the Court. Ooh, just wait til you see it!

Mystery postcard makes the news

Excitement at the Court this month as a postcard sent in 1957 finally arrived at its destination: leaving us to track down the recipient! As reported in the Western Gazette, BBC Dorset Online and other area media, and picked up by Japan's Asahi news network and the Interceder online news service out of Durban, the city in South Africa from which the card was originally posted:

JC Besley, please report to the office. Something's arrived for you in the post.

August 2010


The Court joins the LAND Demonstration Network

After a springtime vetting and visit from the Permaculture Association's charming network coordinator Louise Cartwright, Monkton Wyld Court has been accepted into the Permaculture Association LAND Project, details of which can be found on the PA website.

We look forward to visits from permaculture enthusiasts of all stripes, and to the opportunities to explain the rationale and history behind our various ways of doing things we expect this to bring.

Would your group like to visit the Court as part of the LAND Project? Financial support toward your travel expenses is available. Have a look at the details
here and contact us to arrange a visit!

June 2010


A Message from the Chair of Trustees

As chairperson of the trustees of Monkton Wyld Court and School I would like to say a sad goodbye to the management team. They have done some amazing work in bringing the Court from a failing business and dispersed community workforce into a more inclusive arena for the public at large to use the wonderful space that Monkton can provide. Everyone working at Monkton has shown an impressive dedication to the task in hand that has brought acclaim and praise from visitors to the site.
The chance for Monkton to grow into a first class education centre for all ages and abilities has been made possible by all the management staff over the past two years. Now the workers and trustees together will be taking over the day-to-day management roles, and the team that has been brought together by the management have all the skills to continue and move forward.
Both the School and the programme of courses and workshops look in great shape, and the Steiner-based playgroup and kindergarten are approaching a first anniversary. It’s looking increasingly possible to provide successful courses that the public both local and international want and need for a long time to come.
So now that the two-year project of management-based ideas is complete, I would like on behalf of all the trustees to express thanks to Caroline, George, Patsy and Ali, and wish them good luck in the future.

Roger Bell
November, 2009

Open Day: Thanks for Coming!

On September 27th we were thrilled to have over a hundred visitors for the Grand Opening of our new Wyldside Walk.


The GreenPrints-funded Walk follows a natural path around Monkton's grounds, allowing special access to various points of biodiversity centered around our new pond. Also featuring highly on the day:
  • the One Day Cafe's fresh pizza, salad and homemade desserts,
  • the Monkton Market, offering everything from heritage variety seeds to Monkton honey and jam, and
  • natural crafts and play for all ages in the Open Kindy.
Thanks again to everyone who stopped by. We hope to be seeing you all again soon. And remember, if you weren't able to make it in September, there's always our Winter Fair on November 28th!

Click here for more Open Day images!

The Archive Drive

Are you (or have you ever been) a Monkton Wyld School student, teacher or member of staff, community member, course participant, B&B guest, visitor, hotel staffer, camper, squatter, passerby, rectors' relative, neighbor or acquaintance thereof?

We'd love to see your photos and hear your stories!

Everything sent before 30 August will be considered for the 2010 MWC wall calendar, and a free copy available if your photos are used!


Monkton is in the process of compiling information for an interactive multimedia archive and/or a coffee table book celebrating all our many incarnations, and everyone's invited to join in.

Please send your photos, images and stories by email or post or contact Laurie for more information.

High-resolution tif and jpeg files are most welcome: 300 dpi is ideal.
Photo originals can be sent by prior arrangement, although we cannot take responsibility for losses or damage in the post.

Autumn Series of Bob Machin Talks

Following on from the immensely popular introduction to common-plan types earlier in the year, Bob Machin continues to share the fascinating results of a lifetime's research.

Dorset Farmhouses & Cottages II

September 23rd (Wed)

In this section, Dorset long-houses: surviving examples and developments on the theme, as well as a look at possible explanations for the varying survival rates of old houses in different villages.

Looking at Parish Churches
October 20th (Tues)
An excellent opportunity for enthusiasts of history and architecture to consider the changes to parish churches, and the reasons for them, from medieval times. Using Dorset examples where possible.

Furnishings & Farmyards in 17th Century Dorset
September 24th (Tues)
In this section, peep inside 17th-century farmhouses and yards using information gleaned from probate inventories, the valuation lists of goods and chattels once required for proof of wills.

£8 for each talk, £14 including two-course lunch
available with pre-booking.

Afternoon tour of St Andrews Church optional.

A Moth Night Report by Alan Kennard

Some eighteen people from far and near attended the moth night at Monkton Wyld Court on the evening of 25th July. Assembling just before dusk we witnessed the large number of Silver Y moths feasting on the banks of lavender on the terrace. Two moth traps were set up and attracted over 70 different species.
An introduction to the world of butterflies and moths preceded gathering around the light traps to see the steady flow of incoming moths and other insects attracted to the mercury vapour lights. The most interesting included:
the Mocha- a nationally notable species associated with maple,
a Garden Tiger- once common but now disappearing from many parts of the country, and an Oak Hook-Tip.

Other fascinating visitors included the Buff-Tip, the Drinker, Black Arches, Scalloped Oak, Lesser Broad-Bordered Yellow Underwing and the Peppered Moth. Also Chinese Character, Brussels Lace, Spectacle, Grey Dagger and Iron Prominent, to mention a few with fascinating English names describing their features in a general way.

All in all an eye opener into the variety of colour, shape and size amongst our lepidopterous fauna. Most of the party left by about midnight but the traps were left on until moring when the full range of visitors was recorded.

Our thanks to those at the Court for hosting the event and providing refreshments.

See more moth photos on Flickr!

Midsummer Bats

A recent bat evening on Midsummer Eve at Monkton Wyld Court attracted bat watchers of all ages keen to see some very special Lesser Horseshoe bats putting on a great display as they emerged from their home in this Grade II listed building. The event was a fundraiser for Monkton’s proposed ‘bat-cam’, which will aid in observing and learning about these nocturnal residents. After supper, a talk and a craft activity when some very creative bat hats were made, the group of more than twenty children and adults was able to see the Lesser Horseshoe bats flying out from their roost and watch their aerial acrobatics as they flew round the courtyard and then off to feed in the beautiful countryside of West Dorset. Using bat detectors which pick up the echolocation calls bats use to catch their insect prey and to find their way in the dark, they could also listen to the distinctive warbling sound of these endangered mammals.

The bats at Monkton Wyld Court are due to have their babies soon. In summer female bats give birth, usually to a single baby, which is fed on milk like other mammals. The baby bats soon learn to fly and catch insects and by the end of August will be the same size as adult bats and ready to leave home. Their next challenge is to build up their weight in order to be able to survive the winter which they spend in hibernation, though many young bats do not make it through. However, the bats at Monkton Wyld Court continue to thrive and return each Spring to delight visitors, residents and volunteer staff at Monkton Wyld Court during summer evenings.

In Britain there are seventeen species of bat, all of which catch and eat night flying insects and act as a natural insecticide. A single bat can eat many hundreds of insects each night. Because of declines in their numbers, all bats and their roosts are protected by law.

For more information about bats in Dorset, visit and bats in Britain visit or

Many thanks to Jan Freeborn for leading the event, contributing this article and stopping by regularly to check on our bats (and the rest of us).

IVS Volunteers Work on Wyldside Walk

On Sunday 14 June a group including volunteers from Sweden, Japan and Spain arrived at Monkton for a two week workcamp to help create the ‘Wyldside Walk’ – a nature trail around the grounds funded by the SITA Trust through the GreenPrints Programme. The volunteers came as part of the International Voluntary Service programme.

During their stay, Etsuko, Eva, Carl, Clara and Raquel worked alongside staff clearing the ground for the trail and building a bench near the site of a planned pond. When completed the trail will be open to the public, teaching visitors about the rich biodiversity of our 11 acre site. Land use manager George Sobol said, “We have been looking forward to the IVS group’s visit so we can really push ahead with the ground work and create something of great value to the local community”.

Whilst at Monkton Wyld Court the volunteers had plenty to do besides working in the grounds: free time to enjoy walks in the local countryside, cooking in our vegetarian kitchen, fossiling at Lyme Regis and Charmouth, visiting a local smallholding. The local pub quiz wa also on the menu, and the Art and Photography Exhibition at St Andrew’s Church took place during their stay.

Caroline Walker, Education Programme Manager, said: “The volunteer programme is one of our most important activities, offering opportunities for people from all over the world, and local people too, to come to this beautiful part of Dorset and learn useful skills in our garden and grounds. We are happy to re-establish our links with IVS who have sent many parties here over the years.”

Restoration Project Launched

Restoring the house and walled garden
house and garden
We've started a programme of restoration projects here at Monkton Wyld Court. This will include much needed structural repairs as well as improvements to the interior of the grade II listed house.

Work has already started to restore the organically managed Victorian walled garden. If you would like to help with this programme, we are always in need of volunteers and this is a great way to learn new skills.

Organic Gardening Weeks

Organic gardening weeks
garden volunteers
Land-use managers George and Patsy are planning a series of organic gardening weeks where people can come and learn practical skills in organic food production. Food security is becoming more of an issue and we want to encourage more people to grow their own food with what resources they may have. During these practical, residential weeks, you'll have plenty of time to get down in the soil and plant, prune, harvest and of course taste wonderful organic food.

The weeks cost £50 to cover your room and board. This isn't a conventional course; instead you will learn by doing, experiencing and discovering. For anyone who lives locally, we are also hosting weekly gardening days each Thursday. This is a great way to be involved in the garden restoration project, meet lots of lovely new people and improve your gardening skills in the process. Contact us on 01297 560342 to find out more.

New Dates For 2009

15th - 20th March
13th - 18th September

Monkton Wyld Shop

Monkton Wyld Shop

We run a small shop, the proceeds from which are donated to Monkton Wyld for restoration, development and 100 other needs.
Some of the items available are:

  • Jewellery
  • Artwork
  • Cards and postcards
  • Childrens items
  • Hand-made and dyed wools
  • Alternative healthcare products
  • Alternative feminine products
  • Music
  • Clothing
  • Chocolate
  • Incense and candles
  • Magazines and books
  • Gift ideas
The shop has an ethical policy of stocking organic/ecological/fair trade products wherever possible, and many items are made by local artists, ex/current residents or friends of Monkton.
We constantly review and add to our ranges, so if you have something you would like to sell through the shop, we would be happy to consider stocking it.
For more information please contact the office at Monkton Wyld Court or email

Gift Vouchers

We are now offering Gift Vouchers!

Monkton Wyld Court Gift Voucher

Treat someone with an unusual gift! Vouchers can be of any value starting from £10.

Choose from:

A monetary value redeemable against a course or B&B.
A deposit on a course*
A fully paid place on a course*
A fully paid stay of B&B**

*Price varies dependent on cost of course chosen or on type of course if left generic, i.e. course may be a day, weekend, week, fortnight course named or blank for any of its type.
**B&B, Half Board and Full Board options available
Contact us for further details and to discuss options and prices.