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Landscape, Gardens & Health
At Holt Wood we are working towards sustainable cultivation and harvest of medicinal trees and shrubs. Our project is based on a two acre site in North Devon, UK which was previously a conifer plantation.
Many herbal medicines are sourced abroad even though they could be grown in the UK. Based in Devon, we purchased the site in 2004 when it was stocked with Sitka Spruce aged 35 to 40 years. It is a site with varying conditions from stony slopes to waterlogged soil and adjoins both ancient woodland and Culm meadow. The conifers were felled and the site replanted in 2005 with a backbone of Ash and Oak for long term timber supply, and Hazel for fuel crops (with Alder and Willow in moister parts). These trees are planted in blocks interspersed with medicinal trees such as Buckthorn, Cramp Bark, Hawthorn, Limeflower, Willow and more. Some introduced trees and shrubs are included such as Ginkgo, Prickly Ash Bark and Witch Hazel. Using permaculture design principles, the layout includes many edges to provide spaces for smaller shrubs and herbaceous plants. The ongoing management of the trees and shrubs is based around coppicing sections each year to provide bark and leaf harvests for medicinal use and other benefits such as fruit, nuts and supplies for basketry and charcoal charcoal. Over the coming years we will explore coppicing approaches alongside various methods of harvesting and drying. Our aim is to learn and spread the word to encourage more sustainable UK production of medicinal trees and shrubs. Holt Wood is not usually open to the public (we work and live elsewhere) but we do hold occasional Open Days and Wood Working Days. In 2016 we are revamping our website, www.holtwoodherbs.org.uk or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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