We first discussed the idea of buying a piece of land to live on and set up a business on when we were traveling around Europe in a campervan in 2001, but for both of us, the roots of the idea were formed many years before when as children we both spent a lot of time playing in the woods.
We wanted a place of our own where we could experiment with working and living in a way that was not only more sustainable environmentally, but also more sustainable for us and our wellbeing. We bought our little woodland in 2006 and moved into it, living in a caravan, in the spring of 2009. This gave us the opportunity to stop carrying a boss and a landlord and work for ourselves in a place of our own. Undoubtedly, the move into the woods was the best move we ever made.
Since then we have been on a roller-coaster of learning curves. We had no real land management experience and had to set up a business that would support us financially within 3 years in order to gain the planning permission that allows us to live here. When we gained planning permission, we then had to build a house. Our previous building experience consisted of building a shed and a barn, so a house was quite a step up. When the house was completed, we built a little cabin so that people could stay in the woods.
The result of this activity is that we now have a fantastic life in the woods and a multifaceted business consisting of selling charcoal, renting out the cabin and running courses and events. Something that we really like about this is that every aspect of the business is about people having a great time.
This video was made in 2013 when we were building the house:
Anna and Pete