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We set up Bulworthy Project as an experiment in low impact living and working.  As children, we both wanted to run away to the woods and live without the adults.  As adults, this evolved into wanting to live a sustainable life where we’re as self-reliant as seems practical.  We earn a living by making charcoal and renting out a little luxury off-grid eco-cabin which we built, partly out of wood that we harvested ourselves.  It sits in it’s own little woodland glade and is wheelchair accessible. We’re off-grid for electricity; both our house and cabin are powered by solar.  We wrote a piece about how we got planning permission, to share our experiences of the planning system. The wood for our charcoal comes from our land and another woodland that we manage.

Beautiful romantic cabin in the woods

Our philosophy when it comes to land management is to maximise habitat value and carbon retention. We chose the land that we live on, partly because it has been badly managed in the past. It was originally culm grassland, was covered in orchids and other wildflowers. It was home to a wide array of birds and other wildlife. It was planted up with spruce in the 1960s, then clear-felled, drained and planted with a confer deciduous mix in the 1990s. Most of the original habitats were destroyed in the process, but some pockets remained. As well as managing the woodland for wildlife, We’re restoring the culm in and around these pockets to create, what Devon Wildlife Trust have described as “a mosaic of habitats”. It is the most rewarding work imaginable.

We’re now looking further afield and, along with 3 other trustees, we have registered a charity, known as Devon Culm. This charity will acquire land to create a nature reserve on. This will be supported by Bulworthy Project, but owned and managed by the charity which is independent of Bulworthy Project. For more details, go to devonculm.org.uk.