The Hillyfield is an award winning woodland on the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park.
We manage 45acres of ancient woodland and organic pasture for environmental and community benefit. There are loads of ways to Get Involved, be that through volunteering, at workshops, or one of our open days. If you want to help then click the 'Get Involved' tab at the top bar above.
Our aim is to help develop a culture of wood here on Dartmoor & you are welcome to join the journey or add something of your own. This year is hopefully the last year we will be felling larch due to the disease Phytophthora Ramorum - so if you want to help fell a woodland & replant then get in touch! However our main work is to finish our barn building journey. After a long and drawn out planning battle, we now have permission to go ahead with permitted rights for building the barns we need to help support our work in this special woodland on Dartmoor.
The River Harbourne winds through this steeply wooded valley. There are two lakes and we have planted a small herb garden, tree nursery, apple orchard and productive willow osier. We look after bees, chickens and ducks, and graze the meadows with sheep and cattle.
In 2018 we won Silver at the Royal Forestry Societies 'Excellence in Forestry Small & Farm Woodlands Award', and in 2014 we won 2nd prize at Devon County Show for best managed mixed objective woodland. It's what we are, a working woodland which is as much here for the trees and environment as for people. Woodlands offer SO much. We are also fortunate to have been granted support by the Forestry Commission, EWGS, DSDF, and Defra through the RDPE which has helped us on the journey. There is loads of info in this website about our journey so dig deep and hopefully you will find something of interest.
Volunteer Days at the land
1st Saturday of each month (See here for changes). 10am to 4pm
From January 7th 2023.
We meet at 10am down at the workshop barn at the bottom of the valley. tel: 07976589927 to register your interest.
Events and Activities
As well as occasional events and workshops in woodland crafts, each year we host some regular events including:
'The Great Hillyfield Egg Hunt'
Bank Holiday Monday 10th April 2023
'MOOR MBIRA' - Mid May
A long weekend of Mbira Music traditional to Zimbabwe. Learning, Sharing, Celebrating.
For more info call Doug 07976589927
'The Summer Longdance' organised by School of Movement Medicine. For more info click here.
Small Woodlands, Challenges and Opportunities.
#WoodFromTheTrees Episode 6
an interview about Hillyfield
We are very happy and proud to be featured in the next two issues of Permaculture Magazine.
PM a quarterly publication on all things good in the permaculture movement, inspiring stories and positive solutions around the world.
Our supporters are being offered a free 24hour access code, or you can subscribe and get free digital access to all 110 back issues. www.permaculture.co.uk/subscribe
Our woody story in print...
ROCKETLOG® The unique one log bonfire
Order Here - A Flaming Brilliant Gift!
Volunteer with the team
Get involved in our barn build journey
We've been busy building barns, 3 in a year and in the next year or two will start making some lovely timber cabins for our volunteer woodland workers (a bit improvement from the caravans we currently have... one called 'Leaky' and the other 'Draughty'. Come join the Hillyfield team. There will opportunities for residential and local volunteer placements and educational workshops during the build. Go to the Barn Building tab above to find out more.
Planning Inspectorate support permitted rights for forestry
WE DID IT!
Thank you everyone for your incredible support in our woodland appeal.
Permitted development rights of small-woodlanders are supported by the Planning Inspectorate.
It took 6 years of difficult negotiations with Dartmoor National Park, culminating in a Public Inquiry, until we have been able to move forward and in the process set a precedent for small woodlands.
The Planning Inspectorate fully support that the barns we have asked for are reasonably necessary for forestry, were appropriately submitted, and agree that we now have permission to be build under permitted development rights.
For full details look at the paperwork on our appeal 'planning documents' page.
This is the joint press release sent out following the public inquiry, written with Dartmoor National Park Authority.
AGREED JOINT PRESS STATEMENT BY DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY AND THE HILLYFIELD, 11 APRIL 2018
PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS FOR WOODLAND BUILDINGS RECOGNISED
Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield have announced today a joint agreement to support sustainable woodland management at The Hillyfield woodland on Dartmoor.
Commenting on the outcome, Doug King-Smith, owner of The Hillyfield, said:
“I am delighted that our collective efforts have resulted in this agreement. I would like to thank everyone who has given us support throughout this process, including local village residents, forestry and planning experts, members of parliament and community leaders.
It is great news that the needs of our small woodland restoration project and the enjoyment and benefits it gives to local communities have been recognised by the Dartmoor National Park Authority. This gives us all an opportunity to move forward positively and to demonstrate the benefits generated by successful woodland restoration and community engagement. My wife Claire and I are looking forward to continue playing our part in the woodland culture of Dartmoor.”
James Aven of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: “We are pleased that this positive and constructive agreement is in keeping with Dartmoor’s importance as a National Park. Dartmoor is a place of critical importance to the UK’s rural environment and this agreement will permit us to develop even more effective approaches to sustainable woodland development, the rural economy and environmental protection.”
Notes for Editors
Three applications for planning permission or prior approval had been refused for development of The Hillyfield woodland, and two enforcement notices had been served. A Public Inquiry was held on 10-11 April 2018. The main parties to the Inquiry – Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield – reached a positive and constructive agreement on 11 April 2018.
Dartmoor National Park Authority have recognised:
The Hillyfield and its woodland management as being of benefit and great value to the local community and the environment
some structures and buildings are reasonably necessary to support the effective management of woodland at The Hillyfield, including timber drying, machinery storage, welfare provision for volunteers and workers, and a covered workspace.
the importance and positive emphasis placed by the Hillyfield on volunteers to implement their woodland management plan, as well as the apparent appropriateness of the Hillyfield making products from the land in the proposed barn by the hardstanding to provide an income, for example charcoal, timber and non-timber forest products (subject to scale).
On this basis, Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Hillyfield have agreed to settle the appeals relating to planning permission, prior approval and enforcement and have committed to working together to enhance Dartmoor’s efforts on forestry, woodland, volunteering and community development.
Donate to support our work
Please consider making a Donation to support our ongoing woodland restoration at The Hillyfield. You can choose to make a regular donation or a one off. Maybe you would like to specify whether you want to help us in ongoing costs, buy things we need (like a mini-digger) our toward our volunteer scheme where you can contribute directly to one of our excellent volunteers.
If so contact directly or
scan the QR to the right or via bacs to D King-Smith 20-27-41 60115231
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
Comments about our work at the Hillyfield
(Dr Tom Greeves, Chair of 'The Dartmoor Society')
'This is a remarkable project, run by dedicated, energetic and very well-informed people, which is a model for sustainable management of woodland on the fringes of Dartmoor'
(Bishop James Jones, chair to the Independent Panel on Forestry, and Vice President of the Town and Country Planning Association)
'I am inspired by the initiative and the energy of the project and equally appalled by the opposition that you have encountered which demonstrates how those in authority lose sight of the very values that they should be encouraging and protecting. They should be working with you and not against you'
(Rob Hopkins, Transition Network Founder)
'If we want to bring our rural communities back to life, one of the key parts to that is that we have diverse working woodlands, that bring people into the woods again learning new skills, creating new economies, which is what they’ve been modelling so beautifully at The Hillyfield'
(Simon Lloyd, Chief Executive, The Royal Forestry Society)
'Hillyfield should be held up as a first class case study for other owners and managers of small scale woodland as to how to restore neglected woodland responsibly and sustainably, balance ecological and financial objectives and support the local community and economy. The RFS hopes that the Inquiry examines the wider context of forestry policy and practice in England and supports the continued management of Hillyfield as a working woodland.'
(Guy Watt, CEO of John Clegg Consulting)
'I think the outcome of the enquiry has massive implications for the future management of small woods in the UK'
(Tom Kenny, head researcher at 'Shared Assets')
'The silver lining is that your case really seems to get to the crux of the issue around permitted development and forestry'