Val cant remember a time when she didn’t use permaculture tools in her life and work and she has been passionate about giving voice to the connections between permaculture design, and traditional local land and farming wisdom. Val has a degree in Landscape Conservation and Countryside Management and she undertook a Permaculture Design Course with Designed Visions at Monkton Wyld in 2007. She is currently working towards the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and much of her current permaculture work is part of this. After living in Dorset and Somerset, farming up to 40 acres of rented in land at a time for many years, Val and her family moved to Berry Lane Cottage, a 6 acre smallholding just outside of Bodmin in Cornwall.
When Val and her husband Pete, and their family arrived at Berry Lane Cottage, the land, 3 acres of abandoned woodland/forest garden and 3 acres of paddocks/garden had been used for grazing horses and ponies for many years. The grazing land was hugely compacted, with a large reedy area of wet ground and the woodland dense and dark.
With Val’s knowledge and skill and Pete’s experience in ecology and woodland management, the couple soon had a design based on permaculture principles and ethics for their new home and business.
The various systems and elements as part of the Berry Lane Cottage and Forest Garden design include :-
* Berry Lane Cottage is a LAND Centre.
* Part of the Camp in My Garden scheme.
* There are 2 Shepherd Huts for visitors to rent for holidays – guests have the opportunity to learn about the regenerative land and community work being undertaken at Berry Lane Cottage.
* Secure stock proof boundaries for the land – fences, hedging- have been created.
* Controlled grazing systems have been implemented - using poultry (chickens, geese, ducks) and Zwartble sheep - also providing, eggs, meat, wool, closed fertility loop for growing edible plants.
* Trees in over grown woodland thinned – forest garden areas exposed – existing edible layers restored – 100’s of new diverse fruit trees and shrub layers planted as part of the woodland system and as edible edges.
* The creation of a large annual vegetable plot.
* Large scale composting system – poultry bedding, woodchip, garden material, humanure
* Composting toilet - borehole water supply - solar panel generated electricity.
* Construction of an outdoor kitchen, for use by anyone living or staying at Berry Lane Cottage.
* Long term lodging opportunities.
* Round the year live in volunteering opportunities for help with big projects and day to day routines.
* Wood fuel from tree management, for use at Berry Lane Cottage and to sell locally.
* Juicing fruit grown on site.
*Courses on a variety of land based topics.
* A working example of a thriving poly-income and poly-input Right Livelihood design.
Design ideas for the near future at Berry Lane Cottage are;
* To develop beneficial connections with the nearby town of Bodmin – providing skills sharing and courses to empower more urban community growing projects – including mapping out availability of fruit trees in the town and applying for funding for a community apple press.
* ‘Working Wednesdays’ local volunteer opportunities.
* Preserving the increased diversity and quantity of fruit harvest –exploring ways of linking this to future community projects.
All photos by Berry Lane Cottage
Further Information and Social Media contacts