Margot Oakenby

Postal Address
Trelay Farm
St Gennys
EX23 0NJ

Electronic Mail
World Wide Web
Year started
Coastal / rural
Number of over 18s
Number of under 18s
Ideological focus
Legal structure
company limited by guarantee
Open in principle to new members
Charge visitors
Work in Lieu

Trelay Cohousing is a vibrant community of 23 adults of all ages and nine children, established in 2007 at Trelay Farm.. The farm has thirty-two acres of land and is near Bude in North Cornwall, UK, two miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Trelay is a great place to grow, learn, connect and “be”. Trelay is a rural retrofit cohousing scheme, it welcomes many visitors and volunteers interested in our way of living. The community aims to provide a rewarding and satisfying lifestyle to each of its members. We work hard but we also have fun. We hope we are becoming an inspiration to people who wish to live lightly on the planet, sharing their lives happily and well. We aim to live in a sustainable co-sufficient manner so as to connect in a healthy way with our planet and each other. Our produce from the farm and surrounding area has included pork, beef, lamb, wool, chicken and duck eggs, honey, fish/mussels, mushrooms, many varieties of vegetables, tree fruit and nuts, soft fruit, timber, firewood, other forestry products, flowers, paintings, photographs and a wide variety of crafts – most of these in small quantities for our own use. We have renewable energy systems. We welcome holiday-makers to our sustainable tourism businesses. The main features of cohousing communities are: • They are set up and run by their members for mutual benefit. • Members are consciously committed to living as a community. • Developments are designed to encourage social contact and a sense of neighbourhood among members. • Common space facilities, activities like community meals, and amenities like laundries, are shared. Like other cohousing communities, Trelay has a range of private living spaces where people live behind their own front doors, as well as several communal buildings. It is like a small hamlet. Environmental sustainability The people living in the Trelay cohousing community make conscious efforts to live lightly on the Earth. Examples of our sustainability efforts are: • Community members try to reduce the use of cars by sharing cars, carrying out errands for each other, using buses and trains and giving each other lifts to public transport. We have an electric car and charging point. • Community members keep our use of electricity and heating low by sharing a wood-stove in the communal lounge, for example. We have a large PV system and ground source and air source heat pump systems. We are working towards better insulation of our houses and more renewable energy • We produce nearly all our own meat and milk, and aim to grow a considerable proportion of our own vegetables without using chemical fertilisers.We often process our milk, making cheese, yoghurt and clotted cream. We may get chickens again soon. • Members reduce their needs for environmentally-damaging material goods by sharing many items. We try to produce very little landfill waste and we compost our garden waste. Social and financial sustainability Trelay community members work hard at positive communication and good social structures. • We believe that people living in a group that cares and shares will be happier and have a greater sense of well-being. Diversity is welcomed. • Every member of the community is treated on an equal basis regardless of their financial contribution or their education or skills level. • We have regular learning-together sessions on subjects such as non-violent communication and permaculture. We all value our children. • We have pioneering ideas the financing of housing. Members commit to licences under a Mutual Home Ownership scheme, which enables everyone to gain equity in their living space. • Social interactions with the wider community are extensive; Trelay members are involved in the Parish Council, local churches, choirs, the Gazette (the local newsletter) and sports clubs. Trelay energy and water projects • 20kW peak PV system on the Green Barn + 4.4kW on the Farmhouse. • Two Lithium-Ion Tesla PowerWall 2.0 batteries. • Ground source heat pump (16kW + 6kW) and a 15kW air source heat pump providing heat and hot water to most houses. • Possibility of Interseasonal heat store; solar hot water system; better insulation of our old properties. • Possibility of coppicing, hedgelaying and sustainable timber production provide heat from biomass. • Possibility of A reed-bed system (existing), private water system (borehole), small wind turbines and an innovative wind fence are part of our long-term plan. Communal spaces • We usually meet regularly and often in the Farmhouse kitchen and dining room for communal meals and to undertake project work, but this is currently under refurbishment. • We have developed the Green Barn into workshop, storage and craft units. Our communal washing machine room, tool-store, log-shed and games room, children’s play areas and community gardens will be improved, aiming for a well-kept and beautiful site. Live-work life-styles • Sustainable tourism and eco-retreats: we have built our first two cabins out of four with planning permission. Camping and glamping. • Possibility of Training courses based on our farm production methods and sustainable lifestyles. • Possibility of Craft method production of value-added items sold through our farm shop. A model for the future For twelve years, the people at Trelay have been developing a resilient, long-term, sustainable model of living together in a rural setting. Diversity adds to our quality of life. The model includes people with little money, children, and people with declining energy due to age, as part of the enlivening mix that benefits all who live at Trelay. Our farm has become a rich and diverse environment with many different farm animals, building types and habitats for wildlife; and a centre for discussion and ideas. If you’d like to know more there are several ways of getting involved: – Interest weekends – Working Volunteer weeks Lots of pictures on

community does not share income
community requires capital from members
community has broadband internet access
community generates some of its own electricity
community uses solar energy
community buildings not insulated to a high standard
community members use bicycles
community has organised system for car sharing
community is accessible by public transport
community shares utilities
community has tool sharing system
community has organised systems for recycling
community has some kind of ecosewage system
community is involved in land management
community grows a lot of vegetables
animals kept communally
regular communal meals
community does not have policy which restricts smoking
community buildings at least partly wheelchair accessible
community is not involved in campaigning

Diggers & Dreamers
care of BCM Edge
United Kingdom

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Creative Commons Licence
Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Trelay is currently looking for new members

Trelay Cohousing Community now has opportunities for new members. Two seperate 1 bedroom properties are becoming available over the course of 2020 and 2021, see our website for more info.

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Trelay is currently looking for volunteers

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