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Countrystride #56: LIFE IN THE WOODS - Working the Rusland rainforests

…in which we explore a rainy Rusland valley – the wooded lowlands between Windermere and Coniston. As we wander, with Rusland Horizons’ Marion Brown, we learn about the industrial heritage of bobbin mills, charcoal pits and tanneries, and the extraordinary rarity of Cumbria’s Atlantic woodlands - Britain’s temperature rainforests - before being joined by Jo Clayton and Darryl Kelbrick, who abandoned the nine-to-five to buy, live in and work their own 33-acre wood. In the sheltered porch of their off-grid home on the hill, we talk about the highs and lows of a simpler way of life; we hear why trees don’t just need planting - they need long-term care; we discuss the couples’ sustainable lifestyle making charcoal products and traditional woodland crafts; we witness the devestation inflicted by out-of-kilter deer populations; and we abandon decimalisation in favour of the Cumbrian pimp.

Jo and Darryl's home in the woods.
Jo (left), Darryl and Marion.
Bluebells and birches.
Off-grid living.
Jo and Darryl in their open-air lounge.
In the workshop barn, with one of Jo's stools.
Behind the scenes...


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