I have been working in the conservation field for 14 years, since I gained an HND in Countryside Management at Aberystwyth, Wales, and a qualification in Arboriculture (tree surgery) at Merrist Wood College in Surrey.

I moved to Cornwall in 1995, and worked for Wildlife Woodlands, based near Callington for two years before it was sold to BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). With the company BTCV Enterprises, then BTCV Contracts, I worked as a supervisor for two years and then as Contracts Manager for two years

Since starting my own business in 2001, I have had a variety of work gaining contracts with both larger organisations and residential clients. I have opportunities for expansion, however the niche I fill at the moment is one of personal service, which I enjoy and at present do not want to compromise.

tree planting 1998

In 1997 my partner Charity and I were fortunate enough to purchase Roundbarrow Cottage, a small miner’s cottage on Hingston Down, St Anne’s Chapel. With it were two acres, mainly pasture, and along with some more land bought later, I have managed this land with conservation, timber production, and some fruit and vegetable production as objectives.

I have retained the part that already had a valuable diversity of fine grasses and flowers, including the Lesser Butterfly and Southern Marsh Orchids, but the extra 3 acres adjacent to the meadow, which had no such inherent conservation value, I was able to start planting in 1998 with (eventually) some 3000 trees.

Most of the area is native hardwood with about 10 species of native trees and 15 species of native shrubs, and the remaining area is a combination of Orchards, Forest Garden, Arboretum, and Shelterbelts. As an experiment, I also have 12 types of Eucalyptus, which have shown extreme vigour – up to 25 feet in 4 years.

The trees and shrubs have developed to quite different degrees, affected by all the local differences in conditions and characteristics, and I have learned a lot, as well as got a lot of pleasure, from the process. I have also constructed and used raised beds and a poly-tunnel for organic fruit and vegetable production, with some success as well as ongoing struggles against the local slugs!