Big House Communities in the UK

Big House communities

This is the classic idea of the commune in a big old house where everybody shares everything.

There are some places like that but there are also quite a lot of places where the big house has been divided up into lots of self-contained units.

And, of course, not all communes are in the country!

The Abbey (OX14 4AF)

The Abbey is a Retreat, Education and Conference Centre near Oxford. It offers opportunities for visitors, coming as individuals or in groups, to engage with spiritual development, personal growth, organisational inquiry and to celebrate significant life events. The Abbey offers a peaceful and reflective environment. The house itself is a beautiful Grade 1 listed medieval building, with an inner courtyard, set in four acres of mixed garden and woodland. The Abbey's architectural heritage links back to the work of the Benedictines in the 13th century, and as such provides a welcoming and meditative atmosphere. The daily life of The Abbey…

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Beech Grove Community (CT15 4FB)

Beech Grove is part of the Bruderhof, an international communal movement of families and single men and women who seek to put into action Christ’s command to love God and neighbor. Like the first Christians described in Acts 2 and 4, we feel called to a way of life in which all are of one heart and soul, no one possesses anything, and everything is shared in common. We also draw inspiration from the Anabaptists of the Reformation era who revived the early Christian example of discipleship in full community. Jesus Christ and his spirit and teachings are the foundation…

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Beech Hill Community (EX17 6RF)

We live in a large country house in Mid Devon. Accommodation is both rented and leasehold, in converted outbuildings and in the main house. On our seven acres of land we grow organic fruit and vegetables. We have 2 polytunnels, a paddock, an orchard, a walled garden, a swimming pool, compost toilets and a reed-bed sewage system as well as a wind turbine, solar panels, and a log boiler. Together we run a low-key course centre and any excess income is used on community projects. We share responsibility for our home and the land on which we live and have…

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Bhaktivedanta Manor (WD25 8EZ)

The headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in the UK, Bhaktivedanta Manor offers a range of residential and day courses based upon the teachings of the Vedas, India's ancient Sanskrit writings. In the many workshops and courses conducted throughout the year, you can learn about yoga, meditation, Ayurveda (holistic living), vegetarian cookery, Vastu (the 'Indian Feng Shui'), Vedic astrology and much more. You will meet people from all walks of life who share one thing in common, a desire to find greater fulfilment and a deeper meaning to life. The Manor lifestyle is encapsulated by the maxim 'Simple…

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Birchwood Hall Community (WR13 5EZ)

SUMMARY: We live as a communal household (over two buildings) because this meets many of our personal and political needs and beliefs. We do not try to be self-sufficient, although a number of us enjoy growing organic vegetables. We have a broad sympathy for many green and feminist ideas and values, but beyond that baseline we are a fairly varied group. The key to our success and stability is that we like each other! THE PEOPLE: The community currently consists of eleven resident adults and three children who live here all or most of the time. We span a wide…

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Bowden House Community (TQ9 7PW)

Bowden House Community is a thriving intentional community which has been established since 2005 one mile from Totnes in rural Devon. We are a group of families and individuals enjoying learning to live consciously together and with our environment. We don't have any ideological or religious focus in common and accept the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs reflected in our members. Our land includes an orchard, walled garden, large herb and vegetable gardens and 2 polytunnels, newly planted woodland, a tree house, ornamental gardens and lawns. We also share facillities like a wood workshop, community centre, clay pizza oven, tractor,…

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Braziers Community (OX10 6AN)

Founded in 1950, Braziers is a non-religious community and a college. The main house is Strawberry Hill Gothic in style and is set in 50 acres of unspoilt Oxfordshire countryside. Longer-term residents with a variety of backgrounds and interests live here and, in addition, there are usually three or four foreign students who come to improve their English and help run the house and grounds. We also have WWOOFers and HelpXers. Braziers is broadly evolutionist in outlook and has a particular interest in group process and group communication. We have paying guests most weekends and are a popular venue for…

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Canon Frome Court (HR8 2TD)

We are an intentional community focused around a farming cooperative in rural Herefordshire. We are made up of a main house, stable block and some detached places that provide 20 self-contained living spaces of varying sizes most of which are leasehold but we also support different models including shared ownership & renting. Together we number about 30 adults and a dozen kids that range from babes in arms to wise seventy year olds. We make our decisions by consensus in our regular meetings, and make much of our food based on our hard labour and good times in the gardens,…

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Corbenic Camphill Community (PH8 0DY)

Corbenic Camphill Community is situated in beautiful Strathbraan, four miles from the town of Dunkeld, and twenty miles from the city of Perth. The Community was established in June 1978 and is registered with the Care Inspectorate. Over the years it has developed into a community of approximately 100 people, 38 of whom are adults with special needs. Set in 100 acres of land, it is made up of six households and a variety of workshops.

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Crabapple Community (SY5 6HA)

Crabapple was founded in 1975 and moved here to Berrington Hall (a rambling, slightly eccentric, Georgian rectory) two years later. We are situated 5 miles south-east of Shrewsbury and surrounded on all sides by farmland. The house is set in approx 20 acres of woodland, meadows and growing areas. We have a 2 acre walled fruit and vegetable garden, a community-supported market garden, several polytunnels, an orchard, a willow plantation, herb and flower gardens plus 2 camping fields.  There’s also numerous nooks and crannies!  (NB: The photos are all at least 10 yrs out-of-date!) We aim to live as sustainably…

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Dol-llys Hall (SY18 6JB)

Dôl-Llys Housing Ltd was formed in 1992 by 6 families as a housing co-operative. It was originally a regency country house but then empty and owned by Powys County Council. The house is divided into 7 private, self contained flats of varying size, one of which is rented. We also have some communal rooms in the house and share all the outdoor space. New members buy into the co-operative through purchasing loan stock giving them a 1/6th ownership of the entire property and grounds. Daily life at Dôl-Llys is more in line with co-housing. A key difference is that we…

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Friendship Cohousing (TR16 4QZ)

We have purchased a property, Maningham, and are transforming it into the Friendship Cohousing Community - a perfect place to live as life becomes more difficult in this uncertain world. This property has private units ready for residents to move into and a beautiful house with lovely communal spaces. There is an amazing garden with an area of 4 acres where we can care for the beautiful plants that are already there and, in other parts of the grounds, develop a forest garden and small-holding where we can grow our own food in harmony with Nature. We wish to help…

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Glyn Abbey (SA15 5TL)

We live in an old country estate of 10 acres. Glyn Abbey is a trust with a fixed number of shares. We have separate households and distinctish dwellings, some still in the process of being 'reclaimed'. There are mainly compost toilets, spring water, separate organic gardens, mainly shared electricity, some share a washing machine, no management structure, fibre-optic broadband! no agreed ideology other than not to use cars on site and powered machinery on Sundays. Current age range is 2 to 70 plus. The adults are engaged in various meaningful activities and everyone seems to be creative in various ways.…

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Laurieston Hall (DG7 2NB)

Laurieston Hall began as a commune in 1972. In 1987 it transformed itself into a Housing Co-operative, currently home to 19 members, 4 children aged 5-10, and a few long-stay visitors. We live in and around a huge Victorian main house, with a large organic walled garden, surrounded by 180 acres of beautiful woods, pastures and wetlands, stretching from a loch to the north, to the best wee sledging hill in Galloway to the south. Living spaces use wood for heating and cooking. A hydro supplies much of our electricity. We grow as much fruit and vegetables as we can,…

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Milltown Community (AB30 1PB)

Milltown Community is a small and lively Camphill community in rural Aberdeenshire. We have two houses in which we life share with adults with disabilities. We are a mix of co-workers who have been here for some time, employed co-workers who live locally and young volunteers who come for a year. We have a Day Workshop which is for adults with disabilities from the local area to come in to work on a daily basis. The Day Workshop runs a small plant nursery and a shop that sells our woodwork and craft products. It has a Tools for Self-Reliance enterprise…

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Monkton Wyld Court (DT6 6DQ)

Monkton Wyld Court is a Centre for Sustainability run by a resident community with the help of short- and longer-term volunteers. Community members have full-time jobs in the community in exchange for lodgings, food and a small stipend. As a registered educational charity, we offer education in sustainability through the learning, experience and practice of practical skills and community living. We strive to maximise the productivity and the social benefits of our land and other resources, in a low-impact way. We generate income through a varied programme of educational courses, family activity holidays, venue hire and B&B/ hostel accommodation. The…

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Oakleigh (S4 7AG)

Oakleigh comfortably accommodates 8 people, and the house is so lovely and spacious that occupants tend to stay for 3-10 years before moving on. However sometimes we host volunteers or guests on short courses in Sheffield, and at other times the house is quieter when several people are away. This gives the house an ever changing rhythm with times when only a couple of people are around or larger communal meals with an eclectic combination of dishes and personalities. Interests currently represented in the house include cooking and food growing, crafts and game playing, music and dance, yoga and qi…

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Old Hall Community (CO7 6TG)

We are a large community of people who share an old friary, and 70 acres of Suffolk farmland. We share the workload to be nearly self sufficient in food and energy. Our water is heated by a large wood fired biomass boiler we call the dragon and supplemented by a ground source heat pump. A gas fired boiler is used as a last resort back up. We have an array of 120 solar PV panels to provide our electricity and our water comes from our own borehole with mains water back up. All the members have their own private room…

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Pendragon House (BA6 8AQ)

Pendragon House is located close to the heart of Glastonbury, 5 minutes from both the High Street and the bottom of the Tor, yet right on the edge of the countryside. The house has rooms and suites for residents and guests. We live together communally as family, sharing in one another's lives; living here involves being prepared to work on the things that arise when living closely with others. We aim for low impact living and zero fossil fuel use, although we are not fanatical about it. Long-term community members mainly have outside jobs, pay into the not for profit…

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Pendragon House, House Rear

Pilsdon at Malling Community (ME19 6HH)

The Pilsdon at Malling Community is a community looking to provide a place of healing for those in need. We rely on volunteers to make this possible and invite those who feel called to help in healing and to share the joys of community living, we are in a lovely part of Kent and are next door to a Anglican abbey of nuns.

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Pilsdon Community (DT6 5NZ)

Pilsdon Community offers a refuge for anyone who needs a safe place to stay at a particular point in their life, some come whilst recovering from alcoholism or addiction, others coping with mental illness or following a crisis point in their life. Run by residential community members we offer friendship, hospitality, acceptance and many cups of tea. The Pilsdon Community is a smallholding of 12 acres with cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks and a large vegetable garden. We rear our own meat, grow our own vegetables and make our own dairy produce. Everyone is invited to participate fully in…

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Quaker Community (S33 0DA)

We are a community of 5 to 10 Quakers with a focus on leading a spirit-led life in an ecologically sustainable way. We welcome guests from all faiths and none. We run a range of led courses, events and retreats; these range from the reflective and spiritual to hands-on work in the 10 acres of reclaimed woodland, wetland, wild-flower meadow and organic fruit and vegetable gardens which we have managed since the Community was started in 1988. We also welcome individuals on self-catering retreats, and self-catered groups of up to 16 (if sharing - more if also camping). We are…

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Redfield (MK18 3LZ)

Redfield is an intentional community situated in North Buckinghamshire. We live as a single household in a large old mansion, set in 17 acres of gardens, woodland and pasture, surrounded by farmland. We have sheep, pigs, chickens and bees. Life here involves a lot of sharing, commitment, responsibility, building maintenance, gardening, animal management, logging and having fun. The ground floor of the house and the grounds are communal, with private rooms and units on the first and second floors. The Redfield Centre is a separate self contained venue with accommodation spaces and a classroom space with a workshop attached which…

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Redfield, Buckinghamshire

Shrub Family (NR16 2QT)

Our communal name and address is misleading. We are not a farm, don’t live in a cottage and if the ‘family’ brings images of Californian style cults ... we’re not a family! We have tended to be a practical, secular, dirty-handed, music-playing, screaming kids community, though right now we are low on numbers - so there’s the potential to become something different! Individual interests range from midwifery and politics to fine arts and drugs legislation. We don’t have any particular communal ideal although we follow a pragmatic quest for sustainability and the hope of, one day, developing low-cost, eco-friendly, self-build…

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Stepping Stones Housing Co-op (NP25 4LX)

Stepping Stones Housing Co-op was formed in 1999 with the intention of providing secure, ecologically friendly housing to its members in a rural setting where people could live in a non-hierarchical community. Highbury Farm is a 30 acre smallholding with a large farmhouse, extensive outbuildings, mobile homes and the possibility of low impact structures. The land comprises mainly pasture, which has greater conservation than agricultural value, though we have an historic, productive orchard and space for vegetable production. We also host camps and gatherings in our fields. We are situated above the incredibly beautiful Wye Valley, surrounded by woodland nature…

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Talamh (ML11 0NJ)

Talamh is gaelic for earth, and it’s 50 acres form a green haven in Lanarkshire just south of Glasgow.  The thousands of young native trees planted over the past two decades are growing into woodland, and the pond we created teems with life – the historic land and buildings here provides a mixed habitat for wildlife and people. The current members and an extensive wider community of all ages call this amazing place home. Talamh Housing co-op  is Landlord free and organised by the current members. At weekly meetings (as a group) we manage the affairs and aim to achieve…

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Taliesin Housing Co-operative (SY20 8JH)

Taliesin Housing Co-operative purchased Temperance House in Machynlleth, Wales, with a loan from Triodos Bank. It is a lovely house, in a beautiful location which would benefit from more enthusiastic community minded folk to help move the Co-op forward a bit. We are based in the Dyfi valley, West Wales, an area full of woodlands,nature reserves and beautiful beaches. We are close to the sea ( you can see it from the house!) and a bus ride away from Machynlleth (quirky/alternative market town) and Aberystwyth (lively seaside town with independant shops and thriving music scene). There is an alternative, political…

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Tan-y-Fron Housing Co-operative (SY22 6BP)

Tan-y-fron Housing Co-operative Ltd became a legal entity (a fully mutual, non profit-making organisation with the main aim of providing affordable residential accommodation) at the time that the Tan-y-fron property was purchased in Autumn 2010. About Tan-y-fron, the house: Tan-y-fron (literal translation from Welsh 'the dwelling place of the heart') is a large, detached Grade II listed nineteenth century house and was originally a 'gentleman's country residence'. It has a total of 18 rooms over three floors, including several pantries. It is set in about an acre of grounds, with a further five or six acres of mixed deciduous woodland…

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Temple Druid Community (SA66 7XS)

Temple Druid community is set in 56 acres in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains.  Our aim is to be a year-round Therapeutic and Educational Centre within a sustainable farm, woodland environment, orchard and kitchen garden. The majority of our projects have a particular focus of working with vulnerable children, young people, and their families. We work with the Permaculture ethics of earth care, people care, and a fair share for everyone. We are dreaming into the future and making tentative plans for the renovation and extension so the grade II listed house; planting trees and creating forest gardens; improving…

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Ty Brethyn (LL20 7BS)

We are a small, friendly, open minded community who have come together to live co-operatively and creatively. Co-operating challenges us to take account of others' needs and place our own needs in that context. This is at the heart of what we're about and the means by which we help each other to grow. We all value living ethically, with compassion and a spirit of generosity. We have a beautiful converted water mill and outbuildings, with 5 acres of land with woodland and a stream, in our own secluded valley. There is easy access to Llangollen - a vibrant, welcoming…

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Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary (PL13 1NZ)

For 40 years a group of dedicated individuals have been looking after a colony of Amazonian woolly monkeys rescued from the pet trade in the 1960s and 70s. We are now home to woolly monkeys and capuchin monkeys, who have arrived here as a result of the tragic trade that still exists in the keeping of primates as pets. The Monkey Sanctuary recently became a charity but has always been run in a co-operative spirit (and was a co-operative for many years), and about 12 keepers live on site all year round caring for the monkeys. Volunteers from all over…

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Woodhead Community (IV36 2UE)

After over 20 successful years as a small family and land-based community, we officially dismantled some of our communal activities four years ago. However, the four founders still carry on in much the same way as before, sharing spiritual, political and social values. We continue to work together one day a week, maintaining the property and socialising. There are two caravans on the site, a garden room, and a room in one of our houses where single people live, sharing a large communal kitchen and living space. They each live independently, having community interactions as they choose. There is also…

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