A working croft

We get lots of people asking us ‘oooo what have you got on your croft?” By “what have you got” we assume they mean what animals have we got. We explain to them that apart from our 16 chickens and a pretty snoozy labrador, we don’t have any animals. But that doesn’t mean we’re not a working croft…..

Of course our plan is very much to get animals and that is something we are working towards. In fact we are VERY busy with that at the minute as ultimately we plan to produce a range of high quality food (as much of it as we can in fact) using animals that have had a good life working for us on the croft.

But at the minute we’re working hard to get our croft ready for our animals. Take our current project. We’ve just had a 10 year management plan approved by the Forestry Commission to restore our existing woodlands.

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We’ve been getting a bit of fencing done around our woodlands to help us keep animals out as well as to help us keep animals in!

 

Our first goal is to enrich these by adding in a few more species of trees and help to introduce a bit of age diversity.

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We’ve been extending this existing woodland up the slope to the field edge. As well as trees, we’ve been mixing in some smaller shrubs

 

We also plan to create some nice decaying wood habitat and improve the ground flora to allow space for natural regeneration of both trees and wildflowers – we’ll use our pigs to do this in the early days and then introduce the cows later on. Finally we’ll plant a new native shelterbelt which will link 2 existing woodlands and provide an important windbreak for our animals.

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This is the location of our new native tree shelterbelt. By planting this strip we’ll also be connecting 2 existing woodlands providing a nice wooded corridor across the croft

 

So the woodlands will benefit the animals, and the animals will benefit the woodlands. It’s exactly that ‘mutually beneficial’ approach that we aim to apply across the croft.

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5 thoughts on “A working croft

  1. I’ve been reading (wait for it, what’s this latest crazy idea out a textbook!) Oliver Rachmann on ‘Woodlands’. He provides lots of evidence from from earliest times up to the 19th century of the widely used practice of grazed coppiced woodland where livestock were excluded for the first 7/10 years and then let in for the second half of the rotation, ie once the coppice stems were well established. Worth trying if you’ve get the opportunity. I’m going to encourage BFT to try it on a patch at Corehead. John

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