The character of our land at Lawson Park is fundamental to the ethos of Grizedale Arts, whether it's to produce the food shared at a village dinner or to promote new approaches to planting to local gardeners.
With the farmhouse we lease approximately 15 acres, of which some 5-6 are in present cultivation. Bordered by Grizedale Forest and its sheltering plantations to the East and South, the unimproved land here is acidic, thin and very, very VERY wet, so each new development we make requires very hard graft. Historically, the site was predominantly used as a sheep farm, so each new productive area breaks new ground.
Despite this, the advantages of the site are many: Conditions are often favourable. We often suffer from less hard frost than the village in the valley and are south west facing with plenty of light. Also, we have not inherited the outmoded or high-maintenance features that blight many older properties' gardens, so we have been able to invent our own 21st century version of Lawson Park, more or less from scratch.
Across the site we have occasional art works by the likes of Olaf Breuning and Pablo Bronstein, but we have not wanted to recreate the 'sculpture park' of the earlier Grizedale Society: The ethos of the organisation now is embedded in the entire working site.
Our most active areas include a deer-fenced field (our only deer-fenced plot) of about 2 acres - The Paddies - which were landscaped with the aid of the villagers of the Japanese village of Toge, as part of the Seven Samurai cultural exchange project. This area is used for experimental land projects, larger scale vegetable growing than is possible elsewhere, top and soft fruit. Elsewhere we also have an organic Kitchen Garden with apiary (built in 2006/7), a Wildflower Meadow of about 3 acres, and Ornamental Gardens of about 1.5 acres, including woodland and bog areas.
We have kept pigs on and off at the Farm and in 2009 built a new poultry area, in 2011 moving our trusty old hens to new Orchard and acquiring some beautiful and productive free-range runner ducks. These sadly have all been wiped out by a succession of badgers, stoats and foxes.
The gardens and land open to the public at selected times. Groups of between 10 - 20 may visit by appointment (a charge is made for this) - get in touch to arrange.
We sometimes hold volunteer events (free lunch!) so get in touch if your fancy some hard but very rewarding work with interesting people.