Worlds End Forest Garden
Red Heart Tree CIC at Worlds End Forest Garden Promoting and supporting community permaculture forest gardening, for humane and sustainable development.
We work with local groups and individuals using our demonstration site, video calls and visits on foot/by bicycle/on public transport. We also use original poetry, articles and children’s stories with ecological themes to help with education and fundraising.
Demonstration site: A 2.3-acre field on the south side of a valley that curves and inclines towards to the sea. Due to the curve of the valley, the site does not receive the full blast of a sea wind, plus although it is N-NE facing it receives plenty of sun from down the valley in the morning, from the higher sun during the day and from up the valley in the evening. Also, the valley is known for having a warmer and more moist microclimate than much of the surrounding landscape. It was an abandoned field which seems to be primarily due to having some steep slopes. When we arrived it was completely overgrown with bracken and bramble. We are leaving some stands of bramble for their general benefits to wildlife and particularly for blackberries; and bracken eradication is an ongoing process of pulling/cutting/crushing and replacement planting.
We have a composting area, compost loo, a small geo-dome green house, a comfy tea room, and work is in progress on a small/medium sized poly tunnel. The priority has been to plant trees and bushes, including a wide variety trees for fruits, nuts, coppicing and shelter belts. A few years of maturity not only greatly increases the productivity of individual trees - but also their benefits to the whole garden. Along with hardy evergreens, the shelter belts include a range of trees that are both hardy and produce berries for birds, such as Rowan, Dogwood, Wild Cherry and Crab apple. Inbetween tree and bush planting times we have made a start on adding varieties of climbers, vegetables, herbs and other flowering plants for pollinators - and for insects and birds that are predators of pests. Some propagated perennials and seeds came with us from a previous garden, and we continue propagation from these; plus new plants come from local suppliers as much as possible. Our more recent additions include Chestnuts, Eucalyptus, Olive, Grape, Kiwi, Globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, more medicinal herbs and more varieties of nitrogen fixers including Black Locust, types of Elaeagnus, Lupin and Vetch.
As most of the field is sloping, we have done much of our fruit and nut planting in rows following the contour of the hill, and we are gradually landscaping these areas to form terraces - some (and perhaps eventually all) with an outer ridge, so as to get something of a water retaining swale effect. The more moist, shady dips and dryer sunnier edges also provide niches for different species. In some places we have used raised bed making methods as a way of building up a terrace. We generally have to protect new planting from rabbits until it grows tall enough or densely enough to hold its own.
A nature trail circles up to the top of the valley, and back down to the bottom, which allows for identification of a diverse range of native trees and wild flowers and other forest garden species due to these differing habitats. This is also intended to show case guilds and self-maintaining, abundant ecosystems as a whole. We are presently adding a tree house bird hide and bird boxes, and planning for a pond.
The purpose of the garden is community wellbeing: 1) To prevent harmful global heating by managing Carbon. a) By absorption of Carbon from the atmosphere into plant/tree growth and associated natural holding in the soil, and by sequestration into food/carpentry/building/biochar soil enrichment. b) By local production for local supply, preventing further emissions and waste from travel, transport and packaging. 2) To develop prosperity, especially the resilience to deal with the effects of global heating that are unavoidable. 3) To work with and benefit wildlife and to increase/protect biodiversity. 4) To facilitate healthy exercise, learning skills, fulfilling work, socialising and enjoyment of nature. 5) To experiment and learn for holistic wellbeing. 6) To inspire and extend gardens like this.
We are gradually increasing production of fresh food, culinary and medicinal herbs, preserves, willow withies, wood and propagated trees, bushes, plants and seeds. We are also gradually increasing participation. We give tours and work in groups of varying size; and in these times of C19, the outdoor setting has extra benefit as an opportunity for safe socialising. Longer term we hope to host events such as courses, workshops, nature trails and celebrations.