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About Us

We offer secluded luxury camping in one of two yurts and a beautiful log cabin.  We also run a wide range of traditional woodland craft courses throughout the year.

The site extends to approximately 6 acres, of which 3.5 acres is made up of ancient woodland.  
 
We are creating a Forest Garden, an innovative and highly productive way of gardening where an open woodland ecosystem is created using a mix of both common and unusual  plants, trees and shrubs - most of which are edible!
 
Forest Garden Shovelstrode is the brainchild of Lisa Aitken and Charles Hooper who both share a passion for horticulture, self sufficiency and the firm belief in the need to preserve our heritage in traditional rural crafts for future generations.  The project was conceived in 2009 whilst Charles was being filmed on the Greenwood episode of BBC TV’s programme Mastercrafts and Lisa was simultaneously learning about Forest Gardening.  
 
Since opening for business in 2010, the Forest Garden has taken shape and many guests have visited to either enjoy a yurt or cabin stay, or have taken part in one of our woodland crafts courses. 

History

Once part of John of Gaunt’s hunting park, originally the woodland was part of Anderida Forest and would have consisted of mainly giant oak with hazel undergrowth which flourished over the damp clays and loams of the valley regions. Much of the oak has now been replaced by ash which exists today with a few oaks and a coppiced hazel understory.

One of the earliest historians of the Weald, William Lambarde describes the area in his 1576 ‘Perambulation’ as “in times past nothing but a desart and waste wildernesse, not planted with towns or peopled with men, but stored with herdes of deere and droves of hogges only”.

Forest Garden

Permaculture is an ecologically sound system for sustainability by minimising inputs and recycling all potential wastes into the system. Forest Gardening, or agroforestry, takes on the principles of permaculture and is arguably the oldest form of land use known to mankind.
 
The Forest Garden is an oasis of edible plant species which takes its vision from nature and specifically the natural ecology of a young forest. Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural or "wild" habitat for food, medicinal, or other purposes. Only the branches or flowers are taken and the living plant is left.
 
The design of the planting in a Forest Garden is crucial in order to achieve a successful balance. The aim is to plant utilising the seven different layers: the root layer, ground cover, herb layer, fruiting shrubs, dwarf trees, tree canopy layer and the high canopy or vertical layer. A well considered and diverse planting scheme will help insure against the threat of disease or disasters.

Forest Garden Shovelstrode is an ongoing project aimed at inspiring other people to make use of any small piece of land and to live a more self sufficient, sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

Cafe

The Forest Garden Cafe is in a converted stable where ‘Glampers’ can enjoy a hearty home cooked breakfast and may be tempted to buy some of our delicious homemade jams, jellies, chutneys and honey that we have for sale.

The Forest Garden Cafe also provides delicious lunches, teas & coffee for all our woodland crafts course attendees and during the Spring & Christmas Fayres.