The Hillyfield offers a lot of things to a lot of people - all centered around caring for the land, restoring the ancient woodland, and providing opportunities for you to get involved. We are a Champion for the Charter of Trees, a project by the Woodland Trust.
Please visit us on one of our volunteer weekends (2nd Saturday of each month), or open days or send us an email.
For information on the Appeal Please click on the top tab. There you will find all the paperwork from our ground-breaking planning inquiry into small woodland management needs.
Rob Hopkins founder of Transition Network and Transition Town Totnes shares why he supports 'The Hillyfield'
'I think for many people… we would love to spend more time in beautiful bio-diverse, working woodlands that are creating work for people, that are being regenerated and creating a real haven for biodiversity. But actually we spend our time inside, in offices.
One of the most wonderful things the Hillyfield has done over years now is to bring people into the woods, whether it is for the Woodland Olympics or all the other events that Doug and everybody at The Hillyfield put on, its about getting people into the woods, reintroducing people and connecting people to the woods.
They’ve done amazing work over the last few years, generated 25,000 hours of volunteer input, planted 6500 trees, planted 400m of new biodiverse hedgerows, and done an amazing job at regenerating seriously neglected woodland.
And this is at a time when 45% of privately owned woodland is not managed very well, is neglected, and the biodiversity in this country is falling as a result.
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 modeling so beautifully at The Hilylfield.
And now they have a Planning Enforcement against the two barns they want to build which are vital for that enterprise being able to work.
So in order to defend what they are doing, in order to protect the wonderful work that they are doing and how much what they have done over such a long time means to so many people they are launching this appeal to try and raise money for the hearing.
So I would really urge you to get behind the campaign, support The Hillyfield, what they are doing is absolutely brilliant.
If we want to move to a more fair, more resilient, lower carbon economy, having functioning woodlands is absolutely vital to that, having well managed woodlands is absolutely vital to that.
That means people need to have the infrastructure required to do that and they need the support of their Local Planning Authority – something which they don’t currently have but which hopefully this process will shift.
So please get behind this campaign
GOOD LUCK! - ROB HOPKINS
The Hillyfield is helping develop a culture of wood on Dartmoor.
45acres of ancient woodland and organic pasture managed for environmental and community benefit. In 2014 we won 2nd prize at Devon County Show for best managed mixed objective woodland, 2nd only to The National Trust.
We love this place, and after a long journey of trying to find land, working in community projects like 491 Gallery in London, and Bowden House in Totnes, and volunteering for two years in this woodland, we managed to buy it in 2010.
We don’t live at The Hillyfield, but we do work hard to look after the land, and are blessed with the support of lots of great people! Volunteers come regularly and sometimes stay in the woods as seasonal forest workers, and we work with students from Bicton College and Plymouth University, as well as lots of friendly supportive individuals and organisations.
This is a ‘woodland regeneration’ project, meaning we have had to bring the woodland back from neglect, and work hard to build a sustainable home-grown timber business that serves both the local community and the environment. 45% of privately owned woodlands in the UK are either in neglect or under-managed, so projects like this one are really important for supporting biodiversity and creating employment.
Our vision is to help develop a ‘Culture of Wood’ on Dartmoor, and to move towards a truly sustainable future embracing a ‘One-planet vision’ where we don’t have to be importing timber from abroad, and where we carry out best practice in husbandry of the land and livestock.
In just 5 years we’ve planted 5acres of mixed broadleaf, felled diseased Larch (a plantation on ancient woodland site) and replanted thousands of trees as mixed broadleaf and coppice. We’ve planted an orchard, herb spiral, tree nursery and willow for basket making. We keep bees, chickens, ducks, and rent out the pasture to a neighbouring farmer who grazes organic sheep and cattle.
We also open up the land at regular community events such as The Woodland Olympics, The Great Hillyfield Egg Hunt, and at our monthly volunteer days, as well as other events and activities throughout the year.
The Hillyfield is a bridge for people to come back into relationship with nature, to learn the skills of the land, and have a direct connection to where our wood comes from. It’s not just about sourcing home-grown timber and locking up carbon - it’s about being an integral part of a living landscape, and an opportunity to take responsibility for a healthy woodland environment for the next generation.
QUOTES FROM OTHERS:
'The Forestry Commission fully supports the Woodland Management at The Hillyfield‘
(Mark Prior, Director of Forestry Commission)
‘The work being carried out on Hillyfield is hugely beneficial for wildlife and the local ecology of the area... connecting local communities with nature, providing sustainable ethical wood sources for local people and enhancing the biodiversity of remnant ancient woodland...‘
(Adam Mahar, forester national trust, wildlife trust)
‘The Hillyfield team should be proud of what they have achieved‘
(Nick Allison, Saltram and Antony National Trust garden manager)