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For centuries closed to the public and then plundered by a timber company, Hill Holt Wood in northern Lincolnshire has, in barely a decade, been turned into a cherished and much visited civic amenity that has bonded the local community, provided work and training for excluded youngsters and is a shining example of living with nature. Not only that but it is also a thriving business. And it is all thanks to the vision and tireless efforts of Yorkshireman Nigel Lowthrop and his Irish wife Karen. In the process they have also achieved their dream of living exemplary green lives by being completely off-grid for power, water and drainage in an age when cutting carbon footprints is the main battle cry of governments. The holistic Social Enterprise model they have developed could be, according to Lincoln Business School head Ted Fuller, a blueprint for the new economic model that needs to be built out of the ashes of the current one. It was that experience that showed me we were destroying our natural environment. Eventually I got so frustrated that I had to do something.
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