Thistledown is a continuing project. In the next few years we hope to continue the shop and café structure – we’ve only used about one third of the existing larch frame. This building will probably house workshop and studio space for local artists and craftspeople, who will be able to exhibit work in our shop and lead courses onsite. The external seating area around the clay oven will be covered with a glass roof, but left open at the sides. It’s well protected from prevailing southwesterly winds by the shop. We will also establish an internal seating area for the café.

For many years we’ve wanted to establish year-round accommodation options, and hope to build treehouses within the next few years. These will be basic but comfortable, with wood-burners, verandahs and solar-powered electricity.

We will also continue our tree planting efforts, and we are now focusing on diversifying the species onsite. Most of our large trees are ash, which may well be affected by ash dieback, so we are looking to plant different trees where possible to ensure that the woodland is mixed and resistant to disease.

We also hope to put on more courses and events, and work in partnership with local people and companies to offer regular sessions, such as a forest nursery and a baking retreat.

However we develop, you can be certain that it will be low-impact and sensitive to the environment. We will not be covering the fields in hard-standing and building a clubhouse!