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Quinta Das Abelhas

Portugal based research laboratory set in 10 hectares of regenerated land.

Quinta Das Abelhas is a laboratory for the curious minded and for exploring ones work in society to create a regenerative culture. Set within Central Portugal, overlooking the Estrela mountain range, it was once an abandoned 10 hectare pine monoculture land. Now it is turning into a mixed forest with greater diversity and every year it changes and inspires as its health returns.

The background: In 2017, 10 hectares of degraded abandoned pine monoculture was purchased. The aim to bring back a mixed forest and create a safe space for pollinators, in particular the honey bees. With much observation at the start, strategic land interventions were made and we witnessed how the transformation of human-abused ecosystems can transform quickly. A big shift occurred when rapidly the pine monoculture died from the nematode disease so, section by section, this was removed. This allowed the dormant native trees to reawaken and oak, chestnut and alder buckthorn to come through at a much faster rate. The land slowly started to reforest itself alongside our own planting of different species for even greater diversity.

Land Regeneration and Soil Health: We composted, green-manured, mulched and applied water retention strategies such as swales over the land. Over time there was an increase in the number and diversity of wildflowers, plants and insects. This has led to many more pollinators, bugs, butterflies, worms and bees and increased bird life. Highlights have been seeing the hoopoe rearing their young and bats breeding on the land.

The Honey Bees: Our passion is to find more honey bees living wild in the trees as nature intended. With so many of the old trees cut by humans and replaced by monocultures, we made bee centred hives such as log hives and well insulated commercial hives. These bee homes are not for honey production but simply for the purpose of supporting bee health by mimicking the nest honey bees have in nature.

Regenerative Grazing: In 2020, our neighbour's horses came to the land which, over two years, was our exploration into regenerative grazing. This opened up the land to new potential, in particular, we have seen the increase of mushroom and bug life, the manure enriching soil and land life.

Organic Food: Each year the food and herb growing area has expanded and we become more local in all our food purchases.

The Research Laboratory
In 2024 it will be opened as a research laboratory using systemic coaching for individuals to come and retreat, switch off (no mobiles) and focus on their personal and work roles. The aim is they leave with renewed action, energy and creativity to take back out to the world. Simple programs are developed around the needs of each person, from a day visit up to a week which includes a coaching program, hiking, cycling, swinging in a hammock or sitting by a fire. The pace is slow, slow, slow.

Accommodation is in a wood cabin, meals provided based on dietary requirements with massages available if required. Costs based on requirements.

Email Deborah to discuss coming for a stay:
Location: Fornos De Algodres, 6370-031

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