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.
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.
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.
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.