In early Spring 2021 we had the fortune to venture out towards Budock Water on a crisp and clear day to meet forest garden edible landscape designer Simon Miles and have a tour around his sleepy Forest Garden. Simon really took the time to thoroughly introduce us to his forest garden, imparting knowledge about the different types of perennial plants and layering systems he has woven into the land over the last few years.
We were spellbound our heads giddy with the possibility of Asian Pairs, Almonds, Taunton Dean Perennial Kale, Roast Dinner Plant, Japanese Wineberry and Autumn Olive amongst many others! Simon steadily fed us knowledge as much as we could absorb it and despite us all being novice forest gardeners we felt totally empowered to work with 2.5 ha of beautiful Sailors Creek scrubland and woodland.
The dense scrubland is split over 2 fields known as Creekside and Longfield, and broad leaf woodland borders much of this. There are two notable 300 year old Oak trees that are excellent to use when navigating your way through the land. There had been access through both fields historically and anecdotally.
Our first challenge was to try and survey the land visually and take note of the lay of the land and the clusters of young saplings bursting through the scrub. We ventured in with hand tools and then brush cutters to nibble our way into the scrub and slowly figure out what we were going to be working with. We identified larger parts of scrub in Creekside field that could be topped, and we started thinking about where we might be able to put down a track so that removing waste from the creek could be done by land.
Nesting season began and we had to then wait until August/September to go ahead with topping Creekside and tackling the immense Blackthorn hedge. This gave us the whole summer to start planning our Forest Garden and revisit Simon Miles at his forest garden in Budock Water.
Head to the Resources Page to see a list of the plants and a planting plan for our forest garden!
We will be managing the forest garden and surrounding woodland while ensuring areas are left untouched and free to do what they want, we are loosely following Permaculture principles of zoning. Our vision is to increase biodiversity in the area and increase food security for the local communities by planting legacy fruit and nut trees, bushes and climbing plants using layering agro-forestry techniques
We have a membership scheme if you want to get involved with any aspect of planting, cultivating, coppicing, propagating, green woodworking, basketry, species identification and community building.