'Cameron's Cottage' to become a reality

'Cameron's Cottage' to become a reality

Published by Mike Draper at 5:43am 10th December 2019.

It's full steam ahead to transform this into a brand-new children's education centre in the heart of the New Forest.

A derelict cottage near Nomansland is to be transformed into a unique, residential education centre for young people.

Planning approval from the New Forest National Park Authority means that Cameron's Cottage, named in memory of 16 year old naturalist Cameron Bespolka, will be an immersive outdoor learning retreat by 2021.

A photo of Cameron Bespolka, who died in 2013 and is the Cameron's Cottage namesake.
Cameron Bespolka, who died in 2013 and is Cameron's Cottage's namesake.

Cameron's Cottage, based at a secluded RSPB woodland reserve near Nomansland, will provide accommodation and research facility for schools, colleges, universities and small groups to embed themselves in nature for days at a time.

THE CAMERON'S COTTAGE PROJECT

  • It's a partnership between the RSPB and the Cameron Bespolka Trust
  • It aims to sow the seeds for a life-long love of nature, whilst inspiring the next generation of conservationists
  • The cottage is being renovated as a legacy to Hampshire's Cameron Bespolka who died in a skiing accident in 2013

Cameron, an avid nature lover, ignited his passion for conservation at a similar outdoor retreat in Florida at the age of fifteen. Cameron's Cottage hopes to act as a catalyst in much the same way, engaging young people in the environment for their own personal wellbeing and that of the wider planet.

Crumbling brickwork on parts of Camerons Cottage at Nomansland in the New Forest, which will need complete renovation.
NEW LIFE: Cameron's Cottage will offer youngsters a way to experience wildlife and the outdoors first-hand.

Located within the National Park, from ancient woodland to open heathland, the cottage offers an idyllic backdrop within which to discover an abundance of wildlife, including birds of prey, butterflies, orchids and fungi.

RSPB spokesperson, Beth Markey, said:

"It has never been more critical to engage young people in nature. Absolutely everyone has a connection to the environment, whether it's simply strolling in the forest or taking an active interest in the welfare of animals. Unfortunately, many don't realise it because they haven't had the opportunity to engross themselves in nature, particularly if they've grown up in a city. Cameron's Cottage is a truly wonderful venture that provides an unparalleled opportunity for people to completely absorb themselves in trees, plants and wildlife, free from electricity and the bonds of daily life. We are delighted to be working with the Cameron Bespolka Trust, which has an important vision to educate, inspire and open up the leaders of tomorrow to the wonders of nature."

A dilapidated outbuilding at Camerons Cottage near Nomansland.
MAJOR RENOVATION: The dilapidated outbuildings will also need overhauling.

Cameron's mother, Corrine Cruickshank, is co-founder of the Cameron Bespolka Trust and brainchild behind Cameron's Cottage:

"Now more than ever children and teens are widely disconnected with their natural outdoor environment and are spending more and more time indoors.  We know that nature is important to their development in every way and there is a real need to educate young people as the future guardians of our planet.  We strongly believe Cameron's Cottage will offer them a way to experience and appreciate wildlife and the outdoors first-hand." 

Through Corrine's own dedicated efforts, and those of friends, family and followers, the trust has raised a whopping £425,000 for Cameron's Cottage. Most recently, a team of sixteen individuals ran the Berlin marathon, raising an impressive £75,000.

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