planning permission success by WWOOF host!

Apr 15, 2018

We’ve just heard the great news that The Hillyfield, WWOOF host of several years, has been successful in their appeal against a ruling from the Dartmoor National Park Authority. Doug and his wife Claire manage their 46 acres of ancient woodland sustainably, their pastures organically and welcome volunteers to learn on the land in low-impact, off-grid temporary structures.

Their case was to try and prevent these structures, their field kitchen and processing barns being removed, as had been ordered by the authorities.

Here is a message from owner Doug King-Smith:

THANK YOU ALL! We did it!!! Here is a copy of the joint Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield statement.

Agreed Joint Press Statement By Dartmoor National Park Authority And The Hillyfield, 11 April 2018


Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield have announced today a joint agreement to support sustainable woodland management at The Hillyfield woodland on Dartmoor.

Commenting on the outcome, Doug King-Smith, owner of The Hillyfield, said:
‘I am delighted that our collective efforts have resulted in this agreement. I would like to thank everyone who has given us support throughout this process, including local village residents, forestry and planning experts, members of parliament and community leaders. It is great news that the needs of our small woodland restoration project and the enjoyment and benefits it gives to local communities have been recognised by the Dartmoor National Park Authority. This gives us all an opportunity to move forward positively and to demonstrate the benefits generated by successful woodland restoration and community engagement. My wife Claire and I are looking forward to continue playing our part in the woodland culture of Dartmoor.’

James Aven of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: ‘We are pleased that this positive and constructive agreement is in keeping with Dartmoor’s importance as a National Park. Dartmoor is a place of critical importance to the UK’s rural environment and this agreement will permit us to develop even more effective approaches to sustainable woodland development, the rural economy and environmental protection.’

Here’s a bit more detail on the fight Hillyfield have fought and what they’ve achieved. Congragutlations to Dick and Claire!

Three applications for planning permission or prior approval had been refused for development of The Hillyfield woodland, and two enforcement notices had been served. A Public Inquiry was held on 10-11 April 2018. The main parties to the Inquiry – Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield – reached a positive and constructive agreement on 11 April 2018.

Dartmoor National Park Authority have recognised:
” The Hillyfield and its woodland management as being of benefit and great value to the local community and the environment
‘ some structures and buildings are reasonably necessary to support the effective management of woodland at The Hillyfield, including timber drying, machinery storage, welfare provision for volunteers and workers, and a covered workspace.
‘ the importance and positive emphasis placed by the Hillyfield on volunteers to implement their woodland management plan, as well as the apparent appropriateness of the Hillyfield making products from the land in the proposed barn by the hardstanding to provide an income, for example charcoal, timber and non-timber forest products (subject to scale).

‘On this basis, Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Hillyfield have agreed to settle the appeals relating to planning permission, prior approval and enforcement and have committed to working together to enhance Dartmoor’s efforts on forestry, woodland, volunteering and community development.’

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