A few of members of the Land Project development team went down to visit a 200+ acre site near Bristol last week. This was followed by a second visit with a few more of us as it showed considerable potential. The renovated Georgian house offered almost immediate use and the fantastic mature woodland presented retreat and camping opportunities. It was worth serious consideration and so took two visits to realise that it’s drawbacks meant it could never quite work for us.
There are some issues that only become apparent when you visit and traffic noise is one of them. The nearest road is classed as a minor road but the regular fast usage ensured an almost constant drone which, combined with the sloping geography, proved to invasive and made the pasture area impractical for our activities.
Given that this is a personal blog I can also say that I was the least inspired by the site partly because it was too far south but mainly because the main house itself is a quite delightful Grade II listed Georgian property. The search has going on for the best part of a year now and it seems the search reveals farm after country house after stately home after farm. Consequently the likelihood of being able to create our own significant buildings that can fulfil the greater vision becomes diminished.
There has always been a tension between finding a property that will allow us provide accommodation and retreat facilities as soon as possible and a site that will offer potential for exciting architectural development that might express, in some way, Buddhism in the modern world. That tension is somewhat lessened by the fact that land offering build potential in an appropriately beautiful setting has simply not appeared so far. So no conflict!
Well, personally I remain unconvinced that buying a beautiful country house even if set in lovely countryside will ever prove appropriate for who we are and how we want to be represented. The question is at what point do we have to accept the harsh realities of what’s actually available and how long we can afford to delay.