From the ashes


Many people have asked us how they can help in the wake of the fires and all we have lost. We are very touched and grateful for these offers of support. Here are some ways you can help:

Cash is much appreciated as the cost of replacing our losses comes to over €20,000 euros and this is not taking into account the hours of labour involved. If there is something specific you would like to sponsor with the money you give – e.g. fruit trees – let us know

We have a Portuguese or British bank account:

Bank name: Credito Agricola
Account name: Marko Maitz
NIB: 0045 3451 40246959195 40
IBAN: PT50 0045 3451 4024 6959 1954 0

Elizabeth Williams
Account number: 11833460
Sort code: 30 - 80 – 85

To give you an idea of what burnt here is an incomplete list and if you have anything from this list you wish to offer directly please let us know. Thanks to many generous donations we now have enough clothes – but not much to store them in yet!

Our beautiful hand-made yurt and contents including:
Some favourite books
All of our clothes, shoes
Bed, bedding, desk, trunk, chest of drawers etc
Persian rug
Wool rugs
Large baskets
Full length mirror
Vacuum cleaner
Personal items and photos
Copper kettle and teapot
Stored food and shampoo

3 beautiful and much-loved beehives
4 empty beehives

40+ lovingly nurtured fruit trees some just giving fruit this year
40 forest trees including grafted chestnuts and cherries
Many, many much loved potted plants including roses, azaleas etc.
Garden plants inlcuding goji berries, blueberries, bee plants.....

€600 worth of firewood we made ourselves
€1500 sawn planks from the forest for the house

Firewood cutting frame (‘The trunkinator”)
Chainsaw helmet
Many high-quality handmade chisels
High-quality axes
Carving knives – for green woodworking and carving

100s of metres of water pipe
A lot of plumbing parts including water filter, taps, garden hoses, fittings etc.

We have also lost a livelihood - green and round woodworking and coppice crafts. We had planted and nurtured a copse and agroforestry system. We had grafted our own chestnuts, the most sustainable form of carbohydrate food. We hoped to demonstrate that sustainable, diverse, forests that support people and wildlife are possible. Now in our forest and for thousands of square kilometres around there is no round and green wood left and won't be for many years. Parts of the copse will - we hope - grow back.  But most of what we have worked on for years will have to be replanted, grafted and nurtured once more.

But! Even though we lost the above we were incredibly lucky that the fires did not burn our half-built hand-made wooden house where we have an outdoor kitchen, communal space, volunteer/guest room and bathroom. Unlike many people around here we were able to move into that for now and remain on the land. 



We lost some of our favourite books and other things in the fire so I had the idea of creating a wish list on Amazon. This is not meant to encourage you to buy from Amazon (their ethical track record is appalling) but this is just an easy way to organize what burnt.

Things can be sent our local cafe as our Postbox burnt! 

Laura Williams and Marko Maitz
Cafe - Casa das Melhoramentos - Pardieiros
Largo Alfonos Tahamara Dias

Or if it is much cheaper for you I can pick things up in the UK :

Laura Williams 
Little Benifold
Headley Hill Road
GU35 8DU

Thank you for ALL of your support, love and good wishes! They are helping us to sprout again!

Please feel free to share!



Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Helping Nature to get back on her feet after years of monoculture and wildfires.
Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Would you like to come and help plant some native forest, learn about ecosystem regeneration and reconnect with Nature and yourself? Then join us on an Awakened Forest Project work weekend.
Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Sunday December 1st 10.30 - 4pm

Another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - June 2020

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.


It has been a long time since I have written a blog post because so much has been ongoingly changing in the last year. I wanted to wait until the dust and ash had settled and I knew where I would be before I wrote.

Many of the plants and trees the bees and other insects thrive on have burnt in the October fires and will not be flowering this year and some not next year either if they recover at all. Here are my suggestions on how to help the pollinators through these lean times.

God these are heartbreaking times. Rain that was so longed for in the summer is now pouring off these hills taking soil and stone and track with it onto the terraces and into rivers.


Many people have asked us how they can help in the wake of the fires and all we have lost. We are very touched and grateful for these offers of support. Here are some ways you can help:

We have started building the second floor of the workshop!! This will be our last major build here and will provide a dormitory and meditation/workshop room which will increase our capacities for events and hosting people, especially outside of the summer months.