A Forest Garden is a kind of orchard, planted with many different varieties of fruit and nut trees and bushes. It is designed to mimic a young natural woodland, diverse and multi-layered, and managed without artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides and in a way that restores the structure and micro-biology of the soil, degraded in this case by many years of over grazing.
The message of a Forest Garden is “working with nature is best.” Hazel, blackthorn, hawthorn and oak have joined the Forest Garden of their own accord.
Our Forest Garden was planted over the winter of 2011-12 with apples, pears, plums, damsons, quinces, cherries, cobnuts and a mulberry, and lots of different soft fruit bushes and herbs. It is now a productive orchard, a wildlife reserve, an outdoor classroom and a magic camping field.
Deborah is happy to explain her work and the ethos behind it and we often hold ‘permablitz’ days where volunteers can come and get stuck in.
Image credit: Peter Schiazza
The production of this animation was supported by the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme (DVLPS). Led by the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit, the scheme operates between Dartford and Westerham in West Kent. It has received £2.1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund along with other funding securing a total of £4 million towards conserving, enhancing and celebrating the landscape of the Darent Valley.
At the Scheme’s heart is the valley’s historical connection with the artist, Samuel Palmer, who called the valley his ‘earthly paradise’. Through its partnership approach, DVLPS is delivering over 40 integrated cultural and art, access, heritage and biodiversity projects within all communities, towns and villages throughout the scheme area. It works with a host of partners, conservation organisations, local authorities, artists, schools, local interest groups and many more to deliver these projects. The Scheme aims to engage local people and visitors in the stunning landscapes of the Darent Valley, encouraging them to not only enjoy and explore these landscapes but feel a connection to them and a desire to look after them.