GALICIA

Buildings & Grounds

Our grounds are tucked away in a south facing river valley in the far north-west of Spain. With native oak woodland, undiscovered natural beauty all around, we have the perfect backdrop for a natural classroom.  Wherever possible, activities are performed outdoors: on straw bales or logs, around an old stone fire pit, seated at a stone slab picnic table, or in lush grass in the shade.

Locally, we have the beautiful River Castro with its swimming spots and waterfalls, many quiet and unspoilt beaches, varied dolmens, and empty mountains.

We have three dormitories with en-suite shower rooms, sleeping between four and eight people per room. To ensure safety when working with children, there is a double room in the same building for an accompanying teacher/monitor. The rooms can be transformed into 4 en-suite double bedrooms for smaller adult groups who require more privacy.

When designing and building we chose local, environmentally sensitive materials to create a natural and breathable architecture: chestnut wood from the Courel mountains of Lugo, slate reclaimed from the roof of a church, lime and aggregates from a Galician quarry. Our red bricks are made 50 kms away.  Our terracotta floor tiles and glazed tiles came up on a lorry from the south of Spain, near Granada, along with some magic insulating bricks made from unfired pressed clay mixed with hemp straw, a really innovative and beautiful product called Cannabric.  Our roof tiles, from the famous ceramic factories of Toledo are cleverly designed to allow for breathability and reflection of solar radiation in summer.  Granite stone is local to the village, a natural vernacular material which Francis has learnt to handle and build with. We have a green roof covering the bedrooms, blending the building into the landscape, insulating and sensitive to rain water run off, it also serves to underline our eco credentials with local wild flowers and biodiversity buzzing over our heads. Paint and wood treatments are eco as well, healthy yet effective. All buildings have excellent insulation, some using straw-bale technology, others cork from the beautiful cork forests of neighbouring Portugal. The bedrooms and multi-use room have underfloor heating with solar thermal, log and pellet heat sources.