Quinta Das Abelhas
10 hectares overlooking the Estrela Mountains in Central Portugal
Once an abandoned pine monoculture land, the land is slowly turning to a mixed forest with greater diversity and is a haven for pollinators, with an emphasis on the honey bee. 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.
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.
A 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.
Over the years, neighbour's horses passed by the land which 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.
Each year the food and herb growing area expands, we share food within our valley's and we become more local in all our food purchases.
Quinta Das Abelhas is a place for the curious minded to explore the different facets and possibilities within the field of regeneration.