Introduction

Brantwood, former home of the great Victorian artist and writer, John Ruskin, is situated on the shores of Coniston Water in the English Lake District. Currently a museum and estate that seeks to perpetuate Ruskin’s visionary work, Brantwood today retains the spirit of a ‘living laboratory’ in which to learn of ourselves through Nature.

Brantwood Soil Life Project was set up in 2007, with support and funding from Ruskin Mill Educational Trust and the Hadfield Trust, to investigate, in context with other upland management systems, the potential for biodynamic management in less favoured grassland areas. Brantwood’s semi-improved lakeside hay meadow was the site chosen for this study.

The project’s broad aims were to:

  • explore the values and potential of biodynamic management on upland grassland farming.
  • share experience of discovering and applying biodynamic processes and knowledge with a wide audience.
  • develop a ‘language’ of ways in which the practice of biodynamic land management – it’s purpose and potential – could be made accessible to many people.

As the project developed, it became clear that a third and deeply significant aim should also be addressed:

  • to investigate approaches which enable a reshaping of how we allow our understanding of / relationship to the natural world to evolve.

An article, entitled Measures and Mediations of Connectivity by Dr Aksel Hugo was published in the Star and Furrow and can be downloaded here.