In the spirit of all things wild, raw and magical…
…welcome to hedgewitch.wales!
I moved to our smallholding on the Isle of Anglesey in 2010 following a calling to leave my job as a social worker and return to my Romani roots and true calling as a Hedgewitch. You can read more here in this article I wrote for Pagan Dawn magazine about my journey with wild plants.
When I and my partner Richard arrived it was a warm day in July and although we were in the throes of unpacking, the land outside called to me to be explored and for her secrets to be discovered.
Our large front garden was, and still is, home to some beautiful mature trees. A giant Alder stands regally in middle of the garden, I named him “Bran the Blessed”. Bran shares his space with some gracefully feminine Silver Birches, Sweet Chestnuts, a Sycamore, a Rowan, a Whitebeam, a few Oaks and a lovely old Elder who sits aptly on the edge of the road. Seeing all these wonderful trees was love at first sight and very soon this lovely community was extended with fruit trees that we had brought with us.
The six-acre field that accompanies our little cottage was home to many sheep when we first moved here, the land compacted and barren. The ancient hedgerows surrounding the field were weak from the machinery that was used to manage them. This is our field in 2010 – the little white dots are sheep!
In February 2011 when the sheep had left we started to plant trees and so far we have planted over 5000 native woodland trees. Here is a link to an article about our journey with our trees.
We left the pond to fill naturally and very soon, it was buzzing with life damselflies, dragonflies, newts and water birds are seen daily. Many of the native plants that are growing in the pond are also edible such as water mint, reed mace (cattails) and flowing rush I use these in my wild plant workshops.
Organic no-dig vegetable areas have been designed in as well as a few forest garden areas which are planted up with some Welsh fruit trees such as the Bardsey Apple and the Snowdon Queen Pear. The lower canopies are planted with soft fruit bushes, wild and culinary herbs.
As the land started to reclaim her natural state, I noticed so many new plants growing, the hedgerows were re-wilding, and they were abundant with food, medicine, magic and mystery which gave me an idea for a project called The Incredible Edible Hedgerow.
The Incredible Edible Hedgerow project teaches people about the importance of connecting to their local landscape, how to find wild food and medicine on their doorstep and most importantly how our connection to nature is greatly beneficial to our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Creatively, nature is always inspiring me, especially when seeing the land flourish with new signs of life, willow warblers in the fedges, hedgerows buzzing with insects and honey bees and large communities of birds chatting gregariously in the trees. It was the magic of the hedgerows and the emerging wild spaces that led to me writing my first children’s book called “The Little Hedgewitch” which is on sale here.
After eight years our smallholding has been transformed into a beautiful and peaceful haven for wildlife and over the years has been enjoyed by many people who have visited. The once barren monoculture of pastured sheep has been redesigned to create a natural polyculture based on Permaculture principles. Observing the land for the last eight years and taught me so much about how best to work with the landscape and how to increase diversity of species on many levels.
The wild plants are such a privilege to be with, their perseverance and magic to keep doing what they are naturally meant to do has been awe-inspiring. The way they heal the earth, a way most people find difficult to comprehend (me included). The wild lifeforce and medicine contained in these amazing plants have helped me to cope with past trauma and with my ongoing struggle with my mental health.
“All plants are our brothers and sisters.
They talk to us and if we listen,
We can hear them”
These amazing plant allies whose spirits have helped me to understand myself on such a deep level, have taught me to be more accepting and compassionate to myself and others, especially in these times of world unrest are the very reason for wanting to develop Corn Helyg to another level. We are creating a “Wild Plant Healing Centre”: a retreat, a peaceful haven for people to come and stay and experience the healing qualities of nature and her gifts of food and medicine.