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The Objectives of BALM as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)

Registered Charity No: 1185818

BALM is both a biographical arboretum and an experimental botanical collection, set within an enclave dedicated to environmental enhancement and conservation, where nature can flourish. It is meant to delight the senses,

in all seasons.


The objective of BALM is to promote for the public benefit the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment through planting, care, nurture and cultivation of trees both indigenous and non-native.  Whilst it is hoped that visitors may glean something of the classical and literary aspects too, the primary purpose is to encourage an interest in trees and wildlife. It is hoped it will also be of interest to garden societies and similar interest groups.


BALM discharges its objective through careful management of its land, including an ongoing programme of planting.  One example is the grass cutting policy (for areas not currently open to sheep) which is designed to promote wildflowers and be insect friendly.  One of several future projects under consideration is replanting of DED resistant elm trees. However the number of additional trees that will be planted is relatively limited.  Details of these activities will be added to this website via the Blog and Nature & Nurture pages. 

For a nominal fee BALM trustees provide guided tours of the land for interested parties at the designated times shown on our home page.  BALM trustees also provide local talks on BALM activities.  Whilst the biographical aspects of BALM may be of interest to some visitors, the main focus of the tours and talks relate to nature and nurture. 

BALM has been set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) to assist with its future development and preservation for future generations. 

Our Trustees

Thomas Tuohy


Dr Thomas Tuohy, FSA, is an historian and art critic. He was born and educated in West Cumberland and studied History of Art in London, first at the Courtauld Institute, and then at the Warburg Institute, where he was awarded his Ph.D, following extensive research in the Archivio Estense in Modena, funded by the Italian Government and the University of London.

After further research in Italy, supported by the British Academy, and a Fellowship from Harvard at Villa I Tatti, Florence,  Thomas's Herculean Ferrara (1471-1505) and the invention of a ducal capital, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1996. 

Research in the archives of Christie’s in London and the Ellis Waterhouse notebooks in the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles was incorporated in a book about British collections of Old Masters, A Taste for Pictures, Collections of Old Master Pictures in Britain (1630-1930) (forthcoming).

He has recently published archival material relating to Rosehill Theatre and is currently working on archival material in Whitehaven relating to houses and families in West Cumberland, and to Beckermet.

Thomas is a contributor to Apollo, The Art Newspaper, The British Art Journal, The Burlington Magazine, and the Court Historian, and is writing short biographies of people to whom trees are dedicated, offering a microcosm of society in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

His interest in trees was developed in the course of lecturing and leading cultural tours, including garden tours, throughout Europe and Asia, for more than 30 years.   An understanding of the significance of aspect, shelter, and microclimates was fostered while working in the wine trade in the early 1980s (Dip WSET).

The founder and architect of BALM and a principal tour guide, over 5000 trees and other plants have been planted under Thomas' direction since 2001.

Phil Braithwaite

Phil Braithwaite farms at Ehenside, close to Beckermet, and for many years worked for the National Trust as a Forest Ranger, in Wasdale, Eskdale and Dunnerdale.

Phil has helped with planting and land management since the land was acquired in 2001.  Phil is also one of the main tour guides.

Braithwaites Raise (see our Site description page) is name after Phil in recognition of his great efforts in helping to manage and develop the Little Mesopotamia site. 

Yvonne Clarkson

Yvonne served Copeland Borough Council as a Councillor for 34 years until 2019.  Yvonne takes care of BALM legal matters and also assists the Trust by  raising awareness of its activities in the wider community.

Lilian Tuohy-Main

Lilian is an architect specialising in conservation. She assists the Trust with design, technology and occasional land management.  She is also responsible for further website development.

Andrew Barnes

A former Trustee, Andrew remains a Friend of BALM and advises the Trust on health and safety, risk assessment and data protection and website issues.  

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