Life at L'abri
The Manor House
The main L'Abri house is an old English Manor set in spacious grounds. The workers' homes and the main house make up the L'Abri community.
There is no formal curriculum. Each day you will have time to yourself to explore our library of books and recorded lectures. In addition, there are two lectures, plus an arts and culture evening and a book group every week.
One of the workers will meet with you regularly to guide you during your time at L'Abri and discuss personal issues with you.
All visitors are expected to help with the practical tasks involved in living in community, for example, gardening, cooking, and cleaning. We view this aspect as an integral part of your experience here.
The mid-day meal is a time where lively discussions take place over the table. It is the moment when community life comes together as we prepare and serve the meal together, discuss questions at length, and learn as we listen to one another.
Most of the accommodation is in dormitories of 8–10 people per room, but we also have some limited space for married couples and families.
There is no wireless internet facility for visitors at the Manor. There is an internet computer terminal that visitors can use, but access is limited to evenings and days off. You may like to bring your smartphone or laptop as you can use them to access the audio lecture library via a local wireless network in the study room. However, we ask you to use them for study only, and discourage watching movies, playing video games or accessing the internet using such devices. We are not against technology but want to provide a place where people can step back and think about important life questions and we find the distractions of modern technology unhelpful for that purpose.
You should not plan on touring the area (except on Thursdays, your day off), or taking regular weekends away during your time with us.
Clothing & Linens
Informal clothes are virtually always appropriate here. Keep in mind that our homes are quite cool most of the year, so bring plenty of layers for indoors and out. Plan to bring an alarm clock and a watch, as we will rely on you to keep to the daily schedule. We will provide towels and bedding throughout your stay, and your laundry is done on a regular basis.
We are located in the beautiful Hampshire countryside about 50 miles southwest of London in the village of Greatham (pronounced "grettam").
The Manor House
Hants GU33 6HF
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1) By car
We are in Hampshire six miles north of Petersfield on the A3(M). Coming from the North do not take the exit marked "Greatham", but continue to the roundabout just beyond. Take the 3rd exit marked "Farnham" A325. (Coming from the south take the 1st exit marked Greatham/ Selborne at the same roundabout.) At the first intersection turn right into Greatham village where you will see the Manor House on the right hand side, before the church.
2) By train
From Waterloo Station: Try to take direct train to Portsmouth. (easier than getting on and off on less direct trains.) Get off at Liss. Sometimes if you get the less direct train, you may have to change at Haslemere. From Liss you can either walk the two miles to Greatham, take a taxi or catch the 202 bus to Greatham getting off at Tollhouse Corner. Unfortunately the buses are infrequent.
3) By air
From Gatwick Airport: Catch the train to Guildford. Change at Guildford for the train to Liss. You may have to change again at Haslemere as above. (Try to get the more direct train).
From Heathrow Airport: You do not need to go into central London. Outside each terminal there is a bus stand with a service to Woking railway station. From there catch the train to Liss as above.
4) By taxi
For taxis to the Manor House from the Liss train station, call Liss Cars at 01730 892051. If Liss Cars is unavailable, try Forest Cars at 01730 894658 or 14U Cars in Petersfield at 01730 300738. Proper etiquette is to talk to the driver first before getting into the cab. Ask to be taken to "The Manor House in Greatham." Fare will be between £4.00 and £5.00. It would be courteous to round up to £5.00. Note that on bank holidays, fares will be double.
5) By foot
You can walk! There are three different paths you can take:
The Direct Way (recommended if you are pulling luggage), The Back Way (more scenic), and The Nature Way (much more scenic).
The Direct Way (1.87 miles, 40 minutes): Walk out of the train station to the street, which is Station Way. Turn right (heading northwest). You will almost immediately cross over a small river (this is the River Rother), then walk past homes and businesses to the edge of Liss. (You will pass Madhuban Tandoori, Harvey's Solicitors, a football pitch, and the Liss Business Center, all on your right, as you walk.) After about half a mile you will dead-end into Farnham Road. You will see The Bluebell pub across the street. Turn right onto Farnham Road (heading north). Walk almost a mile, passing The Spread Eagle pub after about one-fifth of a mile. You will arrive at a roundabout where Farnham Road (which is also the B3006 highway) meets the A3 highway. Continue straight through the roundabout and continue walking north on the other side. The easiest way to cross is on the left side of the roundabout, if you follow the footpath around until it ends. Continue walking about half a mile past the roundabout and you will reach a sort of three-way intersection. Take the right fork, which is Petersfield Road (you will see a sign pointing this way indicating "Greatham Village.") The Manor House will be the third and biggest driveway on your right, in about 450 feet (the first smaller one is "2 Tom's Acre Cottage,"and the second small one, after the pond, goes to The Stables.)
The Back Way (2.25 miles, 50 minutes): Walk out of the train station to the street, which is Station Way. Turn left (heading east). In about 400 feet you will reach a small roundabout. Continue walking straight past it. After another 200 feet you will come to a fork, with the Triangle Community Center in the middle. Take the left fork, which is Mill Road. Follow Mill Road as it winds through Liss, and after about half a mile you will cross over railroad tracks. Mill Road changes to Forest Road after the railroad tracks. Follow Forest Road for a mile as it passes through the small village of Liss Forest, and by the MOD Training Ground. After a little over one mile you will reach an overcrossing over the A3 highway. Continue on Forest Road for another third of a mile after this and you will dead-end into Petersfield Road, with the ruins of a church on the left corner. Turn left onto Petersfield Road and you will be walking along the Manor grounds. Turn left into the big driveway after about 300 feet.
The Nature Way (1.97 miles, 50 minutes): Walk out of the train station to the street, which is Station Way. Turn right (heading northwest). Almost immediately on your right, before you cross over the river, you will see a footpath leading into the woods called the "Riverwalk Path." The Riverwalk Path cuts through the old Rother Bank Farm lands and follows the path of the old Longmoor Military Rail Line, which was dismantled in the 1970's after reaching its peak of operation during World War II. As you follow this path through the woods for just over one mile you will see remnants of the old railway line. The path dead-ends into Forest Road just past Liss Forest. Turn left onto Forest Road, walk by the MOD Training Ground. After a little over one mile you will reach an overcrossing over the A3 highway. Continue on Forest Road for another third of a mile after this and you will dead-end into Petersfield Road, with the ruins of a church on the left corner. Turn left onto Petersfield Road and you will be walking along the Manor grounds. Turn left into the big driveway after about 300 feet.
Contact us if you would like to be met at either airport by a taxi as this is usually cheaper for families.
Where is L'abri?
Right from the beginning of L'Abri the basis for the work has been the offering of hospitality to whomever the Lord sends. This hospitality is expressed through the welcoming of visitors into the worker's homes, to share in the life of the community and in particular the welcoming of guests to share in our meal-times, to gather around our tables for food, conversation and companionship. It is within this context of hospitality that food finds its place at L'Abri. We are not a professional catering organisation, a food preparation business, or a restaurant.
Meal preparation is planned and carried out by workers or helpers. Thought, creativity and care is put into the planning and presentation of meals, expressing our God-given creativity, joy and gratitude in his good provision for us and our desire to offer real hospitality to the guests who gather around our tables.
Because food at L'Abri is within the context of the offering of hospitality there are some limitations to the offering of food. One of these is frugality. With a limited budget, we prepare simple meals with care and creativity. Another limitation is the worker preparing the food cannot make 12 different dishes for the 12 different people around the table according to their likes and dislikes. What is on offer is not a restaurant menu but a meal prepared within a home for a group of people invited to a meal table. One meal is prepared and offered.
We do however want to recognise that some people have serious food allergies and our desire is to try to offer hospitality to these people within the limitations we have. We will therefore endeavour to make meals (or a meal option) that is appropriate for people with medically diagnosed food allergies or intolerances.
If your food requirements are particularly complex or a serious life-threatening allergy to food-stuffs (i.e peanut allergy) prevents you from participating in communal meals at L'Abri, this need not bar you to staying at L'Abri but you may need to supplement the meals offered with your own bought food. We have a small guest kitchen with a fridge, kettle and microwave where food can be stored and prepared but guests do not have access to the L'Abri kitchen for their own private meal preparation.
We ask all guests when they apply to come to L'Abri to let us know about any special food requirements before they come. This way we can plan ahead and also enter into dialogue with you if you have an unusual food requirement.
Technology and Devices
At L’Abri we invite you to be part of our homes and lives. A home is a place of creativity—a place where we study, work, eat, have conversations and discussions, play and laugh together. It is a place where we get to know one another, share our experiences and ideas, learn from one another and become more human.
As L’Abri workers we try to give thought to the conditions which encourage this kind of community life. One area we have been thinking through is the use of media technology.
Although there are many benefits to such technologies, they can also come to dominate our lives, distracting us from what is present and isolating us from the immediate relationships around us. Many come to L’Abri aware of habits connected to internet use that they would like to change.
Thus we have decided to place some parameters on the use of media technology at L’Abri with the aim that we can live better with one another. We ask that while you are with us you set all your devices on airplane mode and keep them out of sight, unless you are using them for study in the study room (the Bake House). This will help us be less distracted and more present for those around us. If you need to call or message someone please go outside the buildings or use the designated phone booth. We also have a public computer you can use outside study or work times to get internet access.