The most exciting and daunting piece of work we have had to date?
Dartington Hall, tucked into South Devon on the outskirts of Totnes has a century of history in land-use and social innovations. From the 1920s the Elmhirsts brought in specialists in every aspect of rural life from architecture to education and land-use and challenged them to see the future and create a vibrant & resilient rural society. In the case of forestry the then professor of forest economics, Wilfred Hiley was employed to take the estate forestry forward. His ideas of forest economics and species selection are still taught at schools of forestry, his redwood planting has become one of the most impressive parts of the entire estate.
In line with the Land-use review being undertaken at Dartington and at a time when a new CEO and staff are re-inventing the idea of being global leaders in rural development, we have been appointed to consider the issues and opportunities that Dartington’s forests will face in the next 100 years. This includes the existing woodlands and how they may change; the drive towards agro-ecology & holistic land-use, represented in diverse agro-forestry systems; consideration of how timber processing in a digital age can help the estate and local businesses thrive and monitoring & research in how changing climate & society will effect estate forestry and timber.
The legacy of Hiley, of innovation and the place of Dartington in the heart of the local population makes this one of the most exciting projects we have been involved in and will hopefully act a spring board for continued work on how forestry & timber responds to an incredibly fast moving period of change.