Our Sustainable Home
For many years, visitors to the reserve used our much loved “Hut” as a meeting place and storage area but, as our range of activities grew, it became clear that that it was just too small and increasingly in need of repair. We had a dream of building something that was true to our environmental principles and would be a fitting home for natural history education at Perivale Wood for many years to come.
In 2013, we decided it should be a self-build and began drawing up our plans; a further year of detailed design work and then two years of sterling effort from a build team, largely made up of dedicated volunteers, saw the new building take shape.
We worked with Straw Works, an architectural practice specialising in straw bale buildings, and the design incorporated many components that were donated, recycled or reused including the car tyres which form the foundations, the oak flooring, kitchen fittings, lights, wash hand basins and the leaded lights in the boot room.
The first straw bale was laid by our president, Lord Selborne, in April 2015 and the building, now titled the Bluebell Centre, was officially opened on 23rd April 2017 by entomologist and broadcaster Dr. George McGavin.
The main room is light and spacious with fabulous views of the wood and meadows. There is a lab and office, kitchen and large boot room and the building is fully accessible for wheelchair users. We know that we’re biased but we think Gilbert White would be proud of our efforts.
The Bluebell Centre is primarily used as an education centre for visiting schools and groups, our monthly junior Rangers sessions and our adult education programme of field meetings and evening winter lectures. From time to time we are delighted to host events held by other natural history organisations and if you would be interested in finding out more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.