Wild Oak Woods
by Elspeth English
On the edge of the Stewartry National Scenic Area in Dumfries and Galloway lies the hidden gem we call Wild Oak Woods. All but forgotten by modern forestry and agriculture for the last 40 years Wild Oak Woods covers 58 acres of woodland and wildflower meadows with stunning views and fantastic biodiversity. The site is managed for wildlife and people and will provide a demonstration forest garden, renewable energy sources and an eco-campsite.
Holidays at Wild Oak Woods will give visitors the opportunity to experience nature up close and personal and we hope to create a symbiotic relationship between what is effectively a wildlife reserve and sustainable small businesses.
Elspeth is particularly interested in developing Wild Oak Woods for environmental education, exploring possibilities in the outdoors for mental health and wellness and acting as a venue for arts and rural crafts courses.
Nigel is planning to fulfil his lifelong dream to travel the world and also likes to spend time in the workshop exploring possible alternative energy solutions.
We are already self-sufficient in wood, which provides almost all the heating on site and vegetables for 6-8 months a year. We have made great contacts with local businesses and educational establishments and have an understanding of the economic and social issues which weigh heavy on beautiful Dumfries and Galloway and its charming, friendly communities.
We now realise that we are in the fortunate position of having more land than we need and that there are opportunities here for people with similar aims to be involved in the project. In particular we would like to hear from people who might be interested in creating an organic smallholding/ commercial forest garden/market garden business which would produce outstanding food for the local market.
We are also looking for people who would be interested in creating a business supplying firewood, charcoal and wood crafts with outstanding environmental credentials and helping us remodel the woodland to remove some areas of poor commercial planting and replace these with native coppice. We are also happy to talk about volunteering opportunities on site though at the moment we have no accommodation for volunteers.