Intrigued by all we had read about MONKTON WYLD COURT we made a tiny detour on our holiday exploring the hostels around Dorset to stay for a night in this Gothic mansion. What a privilege it felt to spend time in this simply furnished building with its ornate ecclesiastical architecture.
A peaceful atmosphere slides sideways into the building from the community’s separate more sustainable accommodation. Here a group of 12 people live sustainable lives working the land, using compost loos and minimal fossil fuels. Caring for Monkton Wyld Court is a role handed down to the community from their shared history. Monkton Wyld Court was one of the first alternative schools promoting living closely with the land and shared decision making. Caring for us and other hostel and B&B guests provides the income the community needs to sustain the building. Again I felt privileged, this time to have the use of flushing loos and electricity!
We chose to stay in the mixed dorm and added an evening meal as I had heard great things about the food. When we arrived a family activity day was taking place in the gardens and local children were creating, baking and playing amongst the trees. At 5pm the children went home and the evening residents came out to chat. There was a writer in residence and a couple of walkers exploring the local countryside. A family of three generations had come to Monkton Wyld for a reunion to remember the times they had holidayed there when the second generation were as young as the third generation is now. I asked questions and found out that the community at Monkton Wyld has been offering accommodation and sustainable education for over 50 years.
The log burner was alight in the gorgeous old dinning room and we were served: chick pea stew with coriander, local green salad, jacket potatoes, couscous with coconut and vegan chocolate cake with cream from the community’s Jersey Cow. It was delicious, just as I had been told. I was pleased to see my teenage kids, who are not used to veggie food, tucking in.
We retired to the music room, to play board games after a few tunes on the piano and make use of the WiFi. On the landing outside the room was a trunk full of hot water bottles and quilts. Later we made our selection from the trunk and went up to bed with our bundles to the luxury of warm beds in a fresh room.
In the morning we made our own breakfast in the hostellers’ kitchen, a well equipped facility complete with a table tennis table ! No meat is allowed in the kitchen, however if you are unsure of your ability to cook satisfying veggie food I would recommend splashing out on the evening meals provided (costing £10 per person, £5 for under 12’s and free for under 4’s)