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Museum News

Working in Harmony with the Natural World

During June people across the UK have come together to celebrate the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days of Wild campaign, encouraging everyone to try one random act of wildness every day of the month. This could include wildlife-watching, eating outdoors, planting wildflower seeds or listening to birdsong.

The natural world is very much at the centre of everything we do here at the Weald & Downland Living Museum. As well as providing an interactive insight into the rural history of the region, the Museum site is a haven for the wild and gives visitors a place to come and enjoy an idyllic and unspoilt setting.

The everyday lives of the rural communities we represent were steered by nature and the changing seasons. They needed a healthy environment in order to survive, so it was important they worked in harmony with the world around them rather than seeing it as a limitless resource. Many of the activities and demonstrations we carry out highlight the relationship and respect our ancestors had for the natural world.

 

For example, we still use many of the traditional land management and farming methods of the past to give an insight into how people lived and worked. Visitors recently saw our team coppicing in the woodland, which was once of considerable importance as it provided communities with fuel, fencing and materials for products whilst keeping trees healthy and encouraging new growth.

Farm animals can be found grazing in paddocks around the Museum and our heavy horses are often seen carrying out traditional seasonal farming activities including sowing, harvesting and ploughing.

 

 

 

 

At our historic homes such as Bayleaf, visitors can see how gardens were once used to meet the needs of the rural household with plants grown for their important medicinal, culinary and domestic uses rather than for aesthetics.

 

 

 

There are many more examples of how the inhabitants of the historic buildings at the Museum were aware and mindful of the natural world, and we try to showcase this across the range of captivating activities, events and daily demonstrations we have on offer