In January and February of this year we signed leases for two workshops, one courtyard garden and one allotment garden in the centre of Abbotsbury, a historic Ilchester Estate village on the Jurassic Coast in West Dorset, England.
Abbotsbury is a beautiful village, famous for Chesil Beach, the 14th Century St. Catherine’s Chapel, 15th Century Benedictine tithe barn, 16th Century thatched cottages that line the high street, a swannery and subtropical gardens, all within minutes of our workshops.
We refurbished the old artisan buildings to make them light, white, bright and clean, installed all the equipment and facilities we needed for skincare manufacture, and began making all the stock we need for the forthcoming season. We look forward to reopening the online retail shop and restarting our wholesale dispatches at the end of this month, April 2021.
The workshops are just a few minutes away from the Jurassic Coast - a wonderful haven of seaside beauty and heritage, where we can forage for seaweeds and beautiful maritime plants like gorse, sea kale, thrift and sea lavender.
The UK’s first natural World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO, Chesil Beach, just south of Abbotsbury, is 185 million years old, 29 km long and contains an estimated 100 million tonnes of pebbles.
The beach is thought to have formed during the Ice Age, when landslides cut into sea cliffs and delivered huge quantities of pebbles onto the shore to form a tombolo, or a spit, connecting the Isle of Portland to the mainland of the Dorset coast. Lagoons have formed behind the beach and are home to a rich and varied habitat for flora and fauna.
Chesil Beach is part of the 95 km Jurassic Coast and if you visit in the spring you will see a mass of beautiful wild herbs and flowers, including scurvy grass, bird’s foot trefoil, wild carrot, viper’s bugloss and common mallow.
At our allotment site and in our courtyard entrance we are able to grow a number of different botanicals - calendula, borage, chamomile, yarrow, lavender, thyme, mint and many more plants, which will be macerated into oils, or turned into skincare teas and other products. We are also growing plants for bee foraging, including phacelia, clover, roses and native British wildflowers. By following organic, no dig gardening, permaculture principles, we are attracting the pollinators and looking after invertebrates, ensuring we have our own pest predator army.
You can see our daily work and progress on our Instagram feed and stories - we like to keep our followers updated with all our sowing, growing, making, curing and new product development plans. Thank-you for following our journey and for all your help and support since we started our business one year ago.