Buying a woodland property in the popular English Lake District should be an impossibility. After all, it’s one of the UK’s most visited tourist destinations.
”Jane comes from the area and our neighbours are all her relations,” says John Cushnie, lifting an oak log onto his portable sawmill.
Jane is his wife and the couple have three children – Callum aged 11, Alice aged 9 and Lucie aged 4. The family live in a small town, 40 minutes drive from the forest they own. This, in turn, lies on the shore of Lake Windermere, the biggest lake in the UK and at the heart of the Lake District.
On the other side of the lake is the village of Windermere. Picturesque, but also a tourist trap with innumerable hotels and guest houses. However, the forest has the peace and tranquillity the Cushnie family were after when they got the opportunity to purchase the property in 2003.
Better finish yourself
”I’m a qualified engineer,” says John, who currently works for a mobile telephone company.
For him, the forest is not only an opportunity for relaxation. The engineer in him also sees an opportunity to improve and create. That’s why a few years ago he bought a Logosol M7 to deal with storm damaged and thinned out trees.
”The property is far too small to make it economically viable to bring in a contractor.
It’s better we take care of the trees ourselves,” says John.
Plans for the future
The forest and sawmill are currently just a hobby and a source of timber for the use of family and friends, and has supplied one relative with ash that they use to repair classic cars.
In the long term, the forest will become part of the family’s source of income. The idea is to build a few overnight cabins close by and run courses associated with the forest.
Interest in nature and forests is on the increase in the UK. One example of this is the rapid growth in wood burning stoves.
”There’s a major need to learn how to use a chainsaw,” says John as one example of potential future courses.