Forest Garden Shovelstrode, as a concept, was created by Lisa Aitken and Charles Hooper who, whilst looking for a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle for themselves felt the desire to encourage and inspire others in a similar way. The property was Lisa's family home since 1971. Showing people and communities different ways of reducing their carbon footprint in a beautiful ancient High Weald woodland setting - where people can also stay in yurts - has helped Forest Garden Shovelstrode become a truly unique eco-tourism venture.
Forest Garden Shovelstrode is a place for people to learn traditional woodland craft skills, take a spiritual retreat or just seek refuge in the fully equipped yurts located within the quiet and secluded ancient Sussex woodland. The Forest Garden itself, which has been designed around a wildlife pond, is still in its infancy. Based on the principles of permaculture, it is a rich and diverse ecosystem where plants are selected specifically for their uses and harvested from the seven different canopy layers. It will ultimately become an oasis of edible plants providing many new exciting ideas for self sufficiency.
A large variety of courses are running at Forest Garden Shovelstrode including beekeeping, hurdle making, willow basketry, clay oven building and green woodworking and there are further holistic courses which take place in Savannah yurt such as crystal healing and sound therapy. In the future it is hoped to run further courses on coppicing, land management and hedgelaying along with other traditional crafts such as trug making and coracle boat making.
Forst Garden Shovelstrode is surrounded by the most beautiful countryside, with many walks and paths to discover. Its location in the High Weald, with its many ancient woodlands, is an ideal setting for our woodland skills and craft courses, which bring to life the traditional crafts of the area. The woodland at Forest Garden contains old iron pits, something that is a strong feature in this area.
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