Berry Wood Farm
A developing 16 acre permaculture smallholding enterprise in the hills of the Derbyshire Dales
Berry Wood Farm (formerly “The Hillside”) is a developing 16 acre permaculture smallholding enterprise in the hills of the Derbyshire Dales. The land is in the early stages of transition from upland sheep pasture to a diverse, multi-functional, productive site from which we aim to create 2 livelihoods and inspire and inform others who dream of developing sustainable land-based lives.
We have backgrounds in organic market gardening and sell high quality salad leaf mixes to local pubs and restaurants, and veg boxes to a dozen or so local households.
In 2013 we are opening our gates as a low impact, back-to-basics campsite with compost toilet, solar shower, and campfires, with great views over Carsington Water and the surrounding hills and good access to the rest of the Peak District National Park.
We have been busy planting several acres of new woodland and shelter-belts for shelter, biodiversity, beauty, bee fodder and future coppicing for firewood, craft and construction use. The additional shelter will be vital for developing more favourable microclimates as the site is on a hillside ranging between 750 and 900ft and so can be quite exposed at present.
We have also planted quarter of an acre of forest garden to test what will cope with our climate and heavy clay soils, and have earmarked a further acre that will gradually evolve into forest garden over the coming years.
We currently have a couple of beehives, and hope to expand this considerably using natural beekeeping methods learned from “The Barefoot Beekeeper”.
Other strands of our ongoing work on site include improving our soils and drainage, the creation of several multifunctional ponds, and keeping ducks for slug control and eggs. Future plans include rare breed sheep (including experimenting with tree fodder as a regular part of their diet), wild mushroom cultivation, and small-scale aquaculture using carp.
Permaculture excites and inspires us, and in the future we hope to pass this on through workshops and courses once our site is a little more developed. In the meantime we accept volunteers and ‘WWOOFers’, and offer volunteer apprentice positions so people can come and learn alongside us whilst simultaneously helping the project to develop and flourish.
Heather Ruckledge and Antony Dumskyj