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What nature can do for you at one of Forest Garden’s courses in Shovelstrode

PUBLISHED: 16:27 06 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:27 06 October 2014

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Learn about what nature can do for you at one of Forest Garden’s courses in Shovelstrode

To walk amongst the trees that make up the ancient woodland of Forest Garden, Shovelstrode, is to feel instantly at peace. The atmosphere of the place is utterly serene, which makes it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and find out what nature can do for you.

In my case this was a shamanic workshop, one of the many courses that Shovelstrode run, which range from traditional woodland crafts to making wild beers and preserves. These run from half a day to three days in length, and there are child-friendly options too.

There are also two beautiful yurts in the woods, available for camping or glamping, depending on your preference. They are comfortably laid out and sleep up to 4 to 5 people each. There’s a gorgeous wood burning stove inside to cook on, or a barbecue or fire pit outside.

One of these was the setting for my day of relaxation and self discovery, courtesy of shamanic traditions designed to promote personal awareness and wellbeing. I am confident that I speak for all of the small group I was with, (all of whom quickly became my friends and confidantes), that this aim was achieved. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to leave the world behind for a day, and learn a little more about themselves and their place 
in the world.

The forest garden itself that we had to walk through to reach the yurt surrounds a wildlife pond and is based on the principles of permaculture – it is a rich and diverse ecosystem where plants are selected specifically for their uses and harvested from the seven different canopy layers.

Forest Garden was created about five years ago by Lisa Aitken and Charles Hooper, who both share a passion for horticulture, self-sufficiency and a belief in the need to preserve our heritage in traditional rural crafts for future generations. Lisa and Charles were both on-hand as we ate lunch, and were more than happy to chat through the principles and thinking behind this special little garden that occupies an acre of ancient woodland near Forest Row.

To find out more about the courses and camping on offer at Forest Garden, phone 07956 815458 or 07957 621672 or go to www.forestgarden.info

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Nearer to home

• Make It Yours, Crowborough, Lewes and Buxted 01825 731853; www.makeityourworkshops.co.uk

• Made and Making, Ditchling 07967 819540; www.madeandmaking.co.uk/ditchling

• West Dean College, Chichester 01243 811301; www.westdean.org.uk

• Go to www.heritagecrafts.org.uk to find out about courses in your area

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