As he revealed in November, in order to create a highly authentic settlement, Halls wants to set up wooden structures.

He wants the development to include a "Folkvangr" area, meaning a "field of the people," which guests could visit after participating in activities in the woodland on the land.

The area would also serve as a platform for a number of activities, including shield building and staged re-enactments with people trained in weapon fighting. Children would also get an opportunity to test out their own creations.

The development should include a farmhouse, barn, and animal pens, where farmers in traditional outfits could teach children about old traditions and practices.

As the project attracted international attention in November of 2021, The Viking Herald reached out to Chris Hall to see how things were developing.

Mr. Hall wants to set up an interactive Viking attraction on the Isle of Man. Photo: Sandygate Viking Project

TVH: To start off, could you briefly introduce the Sandygate Viking Project?

CH: The Sandygate Viking Project was born from a long-standing affinity with the Viking and Pagan way of life. The Isle of Man has a long history with the Viking people as a trading hub in the Irish Sea, and Jurby is well known for its Viking past. I have wanted to do something for many years, but it was only in January 2020 when I could obtain the land required.

We lack any interactive Viking attractions on the Island, and I felt that I could provide something to help with this. I also wanted to run this as a non-profit venture to allow everyone to be able to access the site in an affordable manner.

My other reason for running such a venture is actually mental health; mine suffered for many years, and it was only when I moved off-grid that I realized that escape from the world is an important conduit to a happy mind. I am hoping this project helps others escape into a different world and benefits them.

TVH: What is the project's current status - in terms of preparations and its legal status?

CH: As of February 2022, the Sandygate Viking Project became a Limited Company to allow for the running of the site. Each area within the site is planned to run as its own business, with donations going back into the project for costs and expansion.

A longhouse model prepared by Mr. Hall. Photo: Sandygate Viking Project

TVH: How have the island's planning committee and people reacted to your idea?

CH: Notice was given on May 24, 2022, that all pre-requisites for planning approval have been reached and that a committee hearing is scheduled for either June 20, 2022, or July 4. Up to now, the support for the project has been overwhelming, both from the general public and the authorities involved; we are confident that planning will be approved.

TVH: What are the next steps for 2022?

CH: Once we have the planning, and after the 30-day objection period passes, we hope to start on the supporting groundworks to enable the site's build. We are hoping to build the structures from wind fallen and sustainable wood from the Island, so being able to receive donated trees and turn them into materials on site is critical to the success of the project. We have several skilled craftspeople on the Island who are waiting to get involved in the planning and building of the site; these are exciting times.

Given I hope for this to be an environmental beacon for sustainability, with the whole site running on a permaculture basis, I hope that the public buys into this vision and support it.

The project will be operated on a permaculture basis, according to Mr. Hall. Photo: Sandygate Viking Project

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