Bulworthy Project is aiming towards a more holistic approach to life where we blur the edges of work and play.  We describe the project as an experiment in low-impact living and working.

Woodland Hedge Woodland

We also forage for food in the woods and the surrounding area. We eat a lot of wild mushrooms including chantrelle and cep and forage for salad consisting of anything from bittercress and wood sorrel to wild garlic. Our foraging also provides much of the ingredients for the wine that we make.Although we don’t aim to be completely self sufficient, we try to grow food on site where practical. We have two vegetable patches and have planted a number of fruit trees. We have chickens that roam over an area which is being developed into a forest garden.


Bracket Fungus

We were travelling around Europe in an old VW campervan when we decided that we wanted to find our own piece of land. We both have happy childhood memories of playing in the woods. After many late night discussions we decided that we would start looking for woodland in the South West when we got back.

We looked at various plots of land over the next 5 years. All of them were unsuitable for some reason or another. Often they turned out to be so steep that they were practically cliffs. Some had no real access. We looked at one woodland that was under 6 inches of water. Eventually we gave up looking and thought about putting a deposit on a house. Then we decided to have one last look at a land agent’s website. This is when we found Hensons Wood near Rackenford in Devon.

Culm Grassland

Hensons Wood was fairly level, had good access and although very wet in places, was not actually under water. It was scrubby woodland with no passable paths, lots of bracken and bramble. There was a badly placed deer fence that had trapped in a lot of deer. Norway spruce planted as a nursing crop was shading out the planted oak and wild cherry.

Peacock Butterfly

It was then that the reality of owning woodland really struck us. Part of that reality was that we needed to learn about woodland management. We read all the books we could find and got advice where we could. Devon Wildlife Trust were very helpful and particularly interested in the areas of the land that had remnants of culm grassland.

We gained permanent planning permission in september 2012 and have built our own home in the woods. It has been an immense task for us but a very enjoyable experience that has given us many new skills. Having lived in caravans for five years we were keen to build a well insulated home, allowing us to use a lot less wood for heating. Our home is powered by solar panels, our heating and hot water comes from wood and solar and we love cooking on our charcoal.

As well as being a working woodland, the woods also act as a venue for the local primary school to carry out forest school activities.   It’s great to hear the sound of the children enjoying themselves in the woods and provides them with great learning opportunities.Having developed our barbecuing skills we now run the Bulworthy Project Barbecue Café. As well providing great food for the events that are held at Bulworthy Project our Barbecue Café is open to all on an occasional basis.

Forest School
Scandanavian Circular Style Wood Stack

This has been a real rollercoaster of learning curves.  We’ve been lucky enough to have the help of people who have shared their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm.  This has enabled the project to evolve.

AnnA and Pete