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Dear Friends

At Embercombe the raucous bellowing of new life heralds the arrival of another spring. Seeds of all kinds germinating, emerging and pushing their way through the wet cloak of winter to explore the limits of potential. All life navigating towards the promise of another day and yet another day. Here for a while and then nudged aside to make way for the new.  On the 20 March, a small group of us gathered in the stone circle at Embercombe to greet the rising sun and celebrate the Equinox, mid-point between the winter and summer Solstices. Gathering to acknowledge our place in the family of all things and reaffirm our commitment to actions that will bring us into greater alignment with the pledge of the Children’s Fire.

Change is endemic in the world and always has been and yet there are times when it becomes more obvious and more disruptive. Embercombe continues its change journey. It is emergent. I do not doubt that in time we will become more adept, confident, and joyful. Raucous, like the riot of this current spring.

On a very personal level, this year has been one of birth and new life. My wife, Wandia, and I welcomed our son Cai Jambali Macartney into the world in February. Alongside this, my friend, colleague and business manager, Rosa Martin, undertook the complex task of re-branding and re-launching my professional work as a speaker, writer and coach. With the draft of my new book complete, it seems a rush of new life is upon us!

Warm good wishes


Read details of the Mac's new launch here...

New website! -

It's finally here! Have a look at my new website. We'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, I hope you find as much joy reading through it as we had creating it!

New podcast: SHED HEAD

SHED HEAD is my new podcast series, a way of having some leisurely time in conversation with you.

For those of us who are blessed with spending much of our time in the Embercombe valley it has been a joy to see the place start to come back to life in recent weeks. Life in the form of all the wonderful sights, sounds and smells of nature, and in the form of the adventurous souls who join us in the valley as our 2017 programme schedule gathers speed. As I enter the last season of my first cycle of seasons at Embercombe I am reflecting on how important it is to allow life and death to occur naturally, as much for us as individuals and organisations as for nature.
Throughout 2017 we will continue the exciting work we started last year of moving Embercombe towards a more secure financial position and expanding our influence and impact in the world. In that context, we will continue to navigate uncertainty, change and challenge. Rather than meeting that with fear, we choose to seek out the wonderful opportunities it presents, working together to turn challenge to our advantage.
With open hearts and minds we will discover the full range of what is possible in the world and create new possibilities that we could not even imagine before. If we fill our hearts with hope and love, and banish the fear, we will invite the abundance we need to grow the Embercombe the world needs. Sadly 2017 is already proving that the world needs places like Embercombe at least as much as 2016 did. At the same time, in making space for the new, we naturally need to let go of some of what has been, which can be one of our
greatest challenges as humans.
That opening to what the world has to offer and letting go of what has been is opening up many new opportunities to complement what Embercombe has offered to the world to date. This includes new ways of doing things, such as looking at how we deliver programmes and make best use of our facilities; new partnerships with organisations working with a diverse range of society; and new supporters who knock on our door and ask how they can help.
You can read more about some of the new programmes, events and projects that we’re working on in this newsletter, and this year we plan to keep you more regularly informed of what’s going on through social media. We want you to get involved in helping us create an Embercombe that meets the world’s urgent needs and in supporting what we do, so please get in touch if you’d like to know more about what we’re up to and how you can get involved. And we’d really appreciate you spreading the word to friends, family and colleagues if you think there could be a space for Embercombe in their hearts.

With much hope in my heart I wish you all a wonderful spring of emerging opportunity. I also invite you to remember to appreciate all the wonderful gifts we receive each day, especially those of us who are lucky enough to live in privileged countries and have the honour of doing the work to create a world that meets the needs of all its inhabitants.
With gratitude for your support

New Programme - Leading From The Feminine

Starting this summer, this 6 month programme with Sue Holland is designed for women interested in knowing more about themselves and in taking action to create a better world, who see leadership as being about acting courageously from what we know to be true. Contact

Creative Practice Facilitation Training - May 19-21st

Join us this may for LIFEbeat’s weekend workshop which combines a deep understanding of group process with a keen awareness of the role that creative expression plays in bringing individuals and groups alive.
Find out more.

Imagine Better
Make it Happen

Grey of WeWine talks about her experience on the Futerra Away Days at Embercombe.

Digging for

Sophie Young finding gold on the Grow the Grown Ups Summer camp.

The Facilitators

A New Embercombe Council – Rising in the Ashes of the Old. By Founding Member Joey Waterson
By Grey of WeWine talking about her experience on the Futerra away day at Embercombe

Last week I went on my first Away Days with my job. All of our offices from around the world – London, New York, San Francisco, Mexico and Sweden – came together for four days and stayed at an eco retreat called Embercombe in Devon.

It came at an unusual time. The day we arrived was the day after the US Election results. And, quite unsurprisingly, we were all in a bit of shock and sorrow. Especially our American teams. But, actually, being in the middle of nowhere, with extremely limited connection to the outside world, was a blessing in disguise.

Our way of thinking at Futerra is “Imagine better. Make it happen.” and what a year we’ve had to imagine better for! The nature of our job is sustainability, finding ways to help our countries, our people, our world to thrive and be the very best it can be. It’s huge, important thinking.

  Continue reading here ....

Guest Blog by Sophie Young; Artist, Writer & Mother of two

Two winters ago, a fortuitous moment crossed my path whilst reading online. I saw a post for family camp called Grow the Grown Ups. Something enticed me and curiously I opened the link. Avidly reading through, the six days outlined and all they encompassed sounded incredible and I presumed it must be in the States. My experience until then finding face-to-face resources akin to how I parented had been quite narrow and, for years, I felt I had trodden a somewhat lonely road in choosing to parent in a more conscious and connected way. I was therefore almost in disbelief and completely overjoyed to learn that it was actually being held in the UK in late spring and, just in these few small paragraphs, I knew instantly the camp was for us.

Continue reading here...

Find out more about this years Grow the Grown Ups camp here. 
Look out for the Grow the Grown Ups Homecoming later this year!

By Tove – Facilitator on, The Facilitator’s Path: Holding Space, Making Change

2016 was a year that many of us were happy to leave behind. We saw reproductive rights being challenged, refugees being met with a glaring absence of support from our governments and the election of a man who models so much of what many of us spend our lives trying to dismantle. But in times like these, we need to support and strengthen each other, and constantly find new ways to create the change we want to see in the world. As a contribution to this, I created the facilitation training The Facilitator’s Path: Holding Space, Making Change together with the Catalyst facilitators Ben and Kanada last summer. As we reach the end of this programme, I would like to take the opportunity to share reflections, insights and cast a glance forward to the rest of 2017.

Continue reading here...

Embercombe Experience Weekends
14th - 16th April |  20th - 21st May 2017
A community weekend to share your enthusiasm, expertise, or simply a willing pair of hands. Over a weekend of working on the land, cooking, eating and sharing, we create a community of people who nourish the place and each other. Find out more here.

The Journey
14th - 19th May | 6th - 11th August 2017
Do you hear the call to re-connect with how sacred and beautiful life is? Do you have a deep desire to answer the call of the world, to make a powerful contribution that is aligned with your gifts, passion and experience? Join us on our 5 day residential self-leadership course for people of all ages, social groups and experience.
Find out more here.

Natural Beekeeping
12th May - 14th May
Suitable for beginners and those unfamiliar with natural beekeeping practises. Whatever your level of experience this course will give you the confidence to build and manage your own top-bar hive following the principles of natural beekeeping.
Find out more here.

Creative Practice Training
19th May - 21st May 
Creative Practice is a 2-day experiential training in group facilitation and community building using the arts. For anyone working with or facilitating groups of both adults and young people. It also empowers people with strong curiosity who simply yearn to unleash their neglected creative spirit to fulfil their potential.
Find out more here.

Grow the Grown Ups
28th May - 2nd June 2017
“Grow the Grown Ups” gives parents practical and emotional support to understand how to navigate family life – how to find a balance between everyone’s needs, and how to skillfully grow, so that they can parent their children from a wise responsible adult place.
Find out more here.

2nd - 7th April  | 2nd - 7th July | 3rd - 8th September 2017
This generation of young people are becoming adults at a time when its probably never been so challenging, and so full of opportunity. Catalyst is a 5-day residential course for 18-25 year olds to develop their authentic leadership and change-making skills.
Find out more here.

Speaking Out
7th - 9th September 2017
Do you wish to communicate with impact and authenticity? What stops you? Join us for this exploration and to learn a new way of ‘speaking out’.
Find out more here.

The Descent
3rd - 9th September 2017
Do you long to be in the right place, at the right time, for all time? The follow-on programme from The Journey is the Descent, a plunge into the mysterious wild. Leaving the nurturing safety of Embercombe, we journey into the dream-world and walk ancients paths that reach inwards and outwards.
Find out more here.

Embercombe Circles - London Hub
March 18th, April 29th & 13th May 2017  2-4pm
The Circles are a chance to meet up with fellow ‘Embercombers’ or to introduce a friend to what Embercombe is all about. The April Beltane circle will be held in Hamstead Heath.
Find out more here.

4 month Party for TTT’s 10th Birthday
9th March - June 2017 Totnes
We are launching a four month programme of celebratory events to mark 10 years of grassroots action on local food, eco-building, energy, the local economy, inner reflection and the arts, which has put Totnes on the map as one of the world’s most talked about Transition communities.
Find out more.

Myth And Ecology: The Ecstasy Of Alchemists
April 3rd - 13th 2017 Schumacher College
Join mythologists and anthropologists Martin Shaw and Carla Stang as they weave together cosmology, folklore and myth, from the Amazon to Eastern Europe.
Find out more.

Choosing Joy for a Transformational Life
April 15th - 17th April 2017 Findhorn
Join Jeff Olsen to discover the love, peace, connection and power you've been quietly looking for. Share with Jeff the spiritual transformation he went through on his journey through a devastating car crash and Near Death Experience of eternal, divine love.
Find out more.

Sam Lee's - Singing With Nightingales
13th April to 28th May
Events in
Sussex, Cambridgeshire, Essex & Kent. Featuring musicians Aidan O'Rourke, Anna & Elizabeth, Gabby Young, Matthew Sharp and Sam Lee. Come to the forest, sit by the fireside and listen. Each night a small audience will join us not just to listen to nightingales in ear-tinglingly close proximity, but to share an evening around the fire, a vegetarian feast, an al fresco musical performance, and a unique duet. Find out more.

Sacred Activism 2017
April 24th - May 12th 2017 Scumacher College
With Pat McCabe, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Kara Moses, Pancho Ramos, Toni Spencer, Adam Bucko, Emmanuel Vaughan Lee, Justine Huxley, Clare Martin, Sophy Banks, Mac Macartney, John Milton, Tommy Crawford and Amrita Bhohi.
Find out more.

Forest Garden Growing and Cooking
: Edible Ecosystems of the Future

May 15th - 19th May, 2017 Schumacher College
With Martin Crawford, Caroline Aitken and Tomas Remiarz
Forest gardens, or as some prefer to call them, Edible Ecosystems, are one of the most sustainable and regenerative ways of growing edible crops.
Find out more.

One Earth - Resurgence Live :
Building community - sharing solutions

June 30th - July 02nd 2017, near Malvern
The Resurgence summer camp is back for 2017!
Find out more.
SEED Festival: Planting Big Ideas
7th - 9th July 2017, Hawkwood College
Tickets released January 2017
An engaging, inclusive family festival which brings together change-makers from local, national and international arenas. Expect to be inspired to action on behalf of our future world!
Find out more here.

Festival of Sacred Dance, Music and Song  - Celebrating 25 Years
July - 21st 2017 Findhorn
Experience the transformation & healing that Sacred Dance brings. The festival includes Brazilian Soul in Movement, DanceMeditation, traditional dances and healing energy and a Sacred Dance Journey. Dancing to live music is an essential feature of the Festival with opportunities to dance in the evenings.
Find out more.

Art of Mentoring Camp
23rd - 29th July, Burnicombe Farm, nr Exeter
The Art of Mentoring movement is dissolving disconnection from nature, soul and society. Learn creative indigenous ways to connect with nature, yourself and others. Experience the creative community your heart longs for: full of fireside music, magic and meaning at the Art of Mentoring Camp, in a river valley of Devonshire delights. Save your space today!
The Gross National Happiness Master Class
July 24th 2017 - May 19th 2018 Schmacher College & Bhutan
A collaboration between Schumacher College and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan. Join us for a 12 month learning journey to experience Gross National Happiness in practice and to develop the skills and experience to develop your own Gross National Happiness prototype supported by a community of peers, tutors and experts.
Find out more here.
Work continues at the  Oinofyta Camp in Greece. Niaomh Convery and Adam Land took their van and headed straight to Greece, after finishing their voluntary placements here at Embercombe. They offer their wide range of skills to support the refugees residing at Oinofyta. There is still much to do. Niaomh and Adam are now rasing money to build a community garden. "The garden will be something beautiful and will engage residents of all ages whether they are part of the building, planting and growing or just being inside this little community made sanctuary."

Find out how you can support the project here...

Straggler's Exodus

And so they came.

Over the brow of the Haldon

and down into the hallowed valley,

or ‘combe’


With their knitwear and their outdoor gear

and their over-sized military surplus,

with their singsong voices and their proto-ethical choices,

and with their handcrafts that fetishise times gone past -

appropriated reference to the phallus of the pagan staff -

and saponified lavender for laundry or bath


All this they laid down by the hearth of the Children’s Fire -

its mantra gone viral;

recited by heart -

and there they delighted in tales of Twin Trails,

and in pales of glamperous pampering,

and in deluges of delusional nature worshipping


And when they had whittled their last and all edges were wholly truthed -


self-appointed chiefs of the peace

(and of this brief piece)

and of tending to notional,

civilisational grief -


Now that indigenous essence

was religious in presence

Now that the self had come home to itself

and the self had gone selflessly,

thoroughly feral -


They gathered together in concertina,

with Fiona and Tina,

mooching about clique-ily amid mutually appreciative weeping,

smug elder parsons of pastoral pasture:

as you go past its the one with the sheep in -


And they unburdened themselves of their lightened shadow bags,

bidding farewell to the Ember-womb’s umbilicus,

and waiving hello to activitus courageous,

casting off into the river of life

in a peagreen wheelbarrow dinghy fuelled by slipstreams of broad beans

and rowed by the oars of immemorial ancestors


And, do you know?

I was amongst them.

How it hurt to wash the scent of wood-smoke from my matted hair

But I am,

at least -
for now at least -


- Alex Martin

Copyright © 2017 Embercombe, All rights reserved.

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