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Trelay Cohousing Community

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Vision for Trelay
We are creating a sustainable, cooperative cohousing community at Trelay. We are committed to living lightly on the Earth, to exploring more deeply the meanings of sustainability, co-sufficiency and resilience, and to discovering how a diverse group of people can move towards these aspirations.

Through good communication, we shall develop supportive, caring, harmonious relationships, with our children growing up in a respectful and loving environment. We are aiming for close friendships and emotional support through difficulties. We shall develop effective ways of managing anger and criticism and resolving conflicts. Trust, responsibility and conscientiousness will form the bed-rocks of a close, strong, facilitative community with happy and empowered adults and children.

We shall be friendly with local people, participate in many of the activities in our parish of St Gennys and be respected in the wider community, being an inspiration to and being inspired by those who come into contact with the Trelay community.

Sharing chores and projects will be fun, and so will the celebrations of our combined achievements. Community teams will work happily together in a non-hierarchical, equal, fair, co-operative way. We shall respect the need for personal space and privacy, and develop contemplative peaceful areas, so that Trelay is a place to ‘be’ as well as to ‘do’. We shall enjoy outdoor meals; quiet contemplation of our sea view; splashing down water slides; music, yoga, crafts, film nights, coffee mornings, book clubs and children’s games; and go out for seaside picnics, walks, fishing and surfing excursions.
We expect perhaps 20-30 adults to live at Trelay, a variety of backgrounds, skills and ages, with around 10 children. The community composition will be dynamic, with skills and learning being enhanced by new members and visitors, so that we become ever more co-sufficient in skills. Our plan is for the community to earn money to reduce our mortgage so that we head for financial sustainability. We shall have a robust internal economy too. The financial structures we set up will support individuals as well as the greater good of the community.

Self-sufficiency in energy and water will be achieved through a variety of projects. Our buildings will all be refurbished to high standards so they are very comfortable while using low energy; we shall install PV, solar hot water and devices that harvest wind energy; we shall plant more woodland for fuel and develop our existing woodland and hedges in well-managed systems to produce food and shelter for wildlife too. Compost toilets and reedbeds are part of our vision.

There are many other exciting projects that we plan to work on over the coming years, improving our infrastructure with developments like workshops, an education centre and holiday accommodation. We shall produce food together: growing, harvesting, cooking and preserving. There is much to learn about animal care, permaculture and organic production. We know the process of working together is as important to our well-being as the results.

We would like to think that we shall become a role model for cohousing communities, sharing the way we have overcome challenges and difficulties as well as our successes. Perhaps we shall become a rural skills hub, an educational centre for green technologies, or a centre of excellence in sustainability, low impact living and community resilience.
We have a vision of quality in all that we do: we aim to be well-organised and to develop a place of beauty with well cared for land, buildings and relationships. We wish to live in a tidy, well-run, enduring, productive, welcoming place, respectful, supportive and nurturing of the beautiful natural environment surrounding us.

Please look at our website (although it seems to be in need of some repair at the moment) or use the contact form above to get in touch.

Regular Events: 
Trelay Interest Weekends in 2016 are on: 19-20 March, 18-19 June, 17-18 September, 12-13 November. These are mini-cohousing courses, and fun too! Check in Friday evening and join us for a home-cooked supper. On Saturday you will meet many of the Trelay Residents, and be given a tour and several presentations about life in the community, including legal and financial details. Sunday includes opportunities to have more in-depth chats with your own personal questions answered, share a Sunday lunch, go and see the sea and work side-by-side with Trelay people. Trelay is on a small farm in a lovely spot near the North Cornwall coast. Come and find out how we live, be inspired and maybe we will be able to help you set up your own cohousing community? Please email if you'd like to join us.
Contact Details: 
Jackie Carpenter -

Trelay Cohousing Community: how we started and grew


As far as I know, Trelay is the only cohousing group in the UK that started by buying a farm and making use of a farmhouse and set of holiday cottages to create a cohousing community. We were lucky because when the holiday cottages were created a couple of decades before by refurbishing a set of old stone farm buildings, they were granted planning permission but the permission notices did not include a condition of ‘holiday use only’.