PASSIONATE about protecting the woodland around them, the owners of a former chicken farm decided to conserve their land and take an ecological approach while hosting weddings and events.

The focus is on nature and well-being.    

Salisbury Journal: Image Woods at OakleyImage Woods at Oakley (Image: The Woods At Oakley)

With the chicken farm no longer viable, the venue is now in its first year of event management but there is a determination to be sustainable in its approach. 

Owner Lindsay Woodford has fought hard to protect their little corner of ancient British woodland which contained many Ash trees.

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Every planned event helps to fund their canopy project where infected ash trees are removed carefully, and native species are replanted.

Salisbury Journal: Image The Woods at OakleyImage The Woods at Oakley (Image: The Woods at Oakley)

Lindsay said: “We did consider the government scheme where the Ash trees are cut down and taken away and we would have been able to replant (saplings) but many of our trees are old and the loss of these trees would have a huge impact on biodiversity.”

Ash dieback is a considerable project across the country so the company is managing the woodland and carefully removing only those that need it.

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Salisbury Journal: Image The Woods at OakleyImage The Woods at Oakley (Image: The Woods at Oakley)

Every couple who holds their wedding at the venue is supporting the conservation work and is given a tree to plant in the woodland to commemorate their marriage.  

Lindsay said: "It is horrible to see and hear so many neighbouring trees being felled. It is the cheaper option, but we wanted to keep our trees and protect them. If every landowner got together and joined forces, so much could be done for the greater good.”

She added: “We need trees, without them, we would die and I’m not sure that people realise that yet.”

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The first event taking place is a bluebell meditation to help people to connect with nature and to boost health and well-being. The two-hour event provides 2 meditations and a chance to be in the woods and explore.

The event takes place on World Earth Day on Saturday, April 22.

Passionate about sustainability and conservation, the farm has taken in rescued sheep and has given a home to two donkeys from the donkey sanctuary.

Lindsay said: “We want this to be a special place for people to come and get married.”

The Woods at Oakley is set up to host 8 weddings a year because their ethos is on providing a wedding to remember and being able to sustain the woodlands.

Farming neighbour Lucy Robinson has joined forces with them.

She said: “We would like to do more for those with mental health issues or for inner-city children. Our focus is very much on health and wellbeing.”

In the future, there may be additional events including craft workshops, foraging and forest bathing.

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