2019 started with the hope of new beginnings.
Since the early 1990's I was interested in owning woodland, as a private place that I could go and walk the dog and be alone (in a manner of speaking) with my thoughts. It would be nearly 30 years before I found myself in a position to fulfill part of that dream (still no dog yet) when, in 2019, my friend Dawn and I found an undeveloped, natural plot of land on the edge of a quiet Bedfordshire village.
The land hunt began, as most do, with hours spent on the internet trawling through property and auction sites. Eventually, patience and persistence paid off when we were fortunate enough to acquire this land in Willington. We could immediately see the scope for a land management project that would not only satisfy our meditative needs but would also benefit the local community and the longer-term environmental needs of the area
I purchased approximately 3.5 acres of woodland and meadow on a 5.5 acre site,
in the village of Willington https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willington,_Bedfordshire
The land itself has been associated with an historic Danish encampment, then later it was part of a larger agricultural estate through which (later still) the Bedford to Cambridge rail link once ran.
In the mid 20th century, as the rail line fell into decline, the land was excavated for gravel
and sand, before being roughly filled in and once again used for casual agriculture.
In the last few decades, it was purchased by a developer who, after a series of unsuccessful stand-offs, was defeated in several attempts to gain planning permission. Throughout this latter period, the land largely fell into a decline, being allowed to mainly return to untamed, unmanaged natural growth. Hawthorn and Goat Willow came to monopolise the woodland areas, with a sprinkling of Oak and Silver Birch standing strong in contrast to the twisted and broken 'dominant' species (oddly analogous of the battle between the developer and the village).
And so, from a varied past, there is now Stackmoor...
Q3 2020 Update
As some of my neighbours are aware, my friend Dawn passed away in late May.
Covid-19 had already disrupted the work we had planned in the first part of the year
- we lived in different households, each with our own family commitments, so could only work together while socially distanced - but we were adapting to this.
Stackmoor still lives on as personal meditative and environmental development project, which I endeavor to pursue with the same, energy, scope and imagination with which it began, now with my two sons, Gabriel and Lucas, adding their energy and ideas to the project.