As you may know, Toby's book
 about Windsor Hill Wood, A Place
 of Refuge
, has just been published by Quercus.

Windsor Hill Wood is a woodland shelter set up by Tobias Jones and Francesca Lenzi. Inspired by the Pilsdon Community in Dorset, it aims to create a peaceful environment where people going through tough or uncertain times can come and reflect on life.

We're a small community centred on what is a family home. We're essentially an "extended household" with half a dozen extra places laid at the table, and half a dozen extra beds. We offer traditional Christian hospitality to all, regardless of faith, race and so on. We hope to help people rediscover peace, silence and acceptance amidst the beauty and simplicity of the woods. Some people stay for a few nights, others for many months. Most people come to us because of an explicit personal crisis - bereavement, addiction, separation, depression, homelessness and so on - whilst others come because they just feel dismayed by modern life.

Although very small, Windsor Hill Wood is a traditional working woodland. There's a lot of felling, planting, coppicing and digging. There are chickens, bees, geese and pigs. We build shelters to keep dry and fires to keep warm. We try and run the place in a sustainable way,
using the old-fashioned methods and tools of the bodger: shave-horses, pole-lathes, chisels, axes and knives. We're not against modernity - we use chainsaws as well - but we try to manage the wood in a quiet way. We make spoons,
chairs, stools, bowls and so on. We grow fruit and veg and share all our meals.




We don't have many rules, but because some of the people here are dealing with addiction issues, the entire site is dry - meaning, of course, no alcohol - and is drug-free. We don't accept any violence, either verbal or physical.

If you're interested in finding out more about the founding vision for the project, click here and if you're interested in reading about the on-set of reality, click here. The link to the collected columns from the Observer magazine is here.

Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice



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