Featuring Transition Town Totnes, Agroforestry Research Trust, Landmatters Permaculture Community and lots more
Three days of permaculture inspiration, fun and friendship
Join an international crowd of Permaculturalists on this 3-day excursion which will take you to the heart of Transition Town Totnes and a host of other permaculture-inspired projects in the area. These include: Martin Crawford's Agroforestry Research Institute and Forest Garden; the nearby School Farm Community Supported Agriculture; Gro-cycle, which grows gourmet mushrooms from waste coffee grounds, and Landmatters Coop, a Permaculture Association LAND Project.
There will also be a welcoming social event and an evening river cruise between Totnes and Dartmouth when you will meet local people involved in these projects, and feast on food and drink provided by local brewers and caterers.
Here is day-by-day guide to what we'll be getting up to:
Wednesday 16th September - Travel and welcome
Travel from the International Permaculture Convergence - We'll be setting off at about 9am and travelling in style aboard The Big Lemon's brightly coloured buses, powered by 'waste' vegetable oil which they collect from their local cafes. This is included in your fare. N.B. The coach from London is now fully booked. Bookings for the event are still open, but you will need to arrange your own travel to Totnes by train or coach.
Arrival in Totnes - We aim to arrive at about 1500, that's 3pm UK time! We will help you get to your accommodation - some of us will be staying in Windmill House, a hostel with shared accommodation, and others will be staying around town with local families. Both the hostel and the home stay network are run by our local Language School.
Find your way around - You will have a bit of time to unpack, put your feet up, work out where you are, and get in the party spirit!
A Totnes Big Welcome - 6pm. We'll get together in our Civic Hall for a big welcome. There will be local food, local beer, entertainment and a chance to meet local people involved in Transition and Permaculture.
Thursday 17th and Friday 18th September - Permaculture Applied visits
We will split into smaller groups so we can get around Devon's narrow roads and have more quality time on the visits. We will rotate between two different days of activities.
1. The Dartington and Landmatters Day. Half the day we will be at Landmatters Permaculture Project, and the other half of the day will be on the Dartington Estate. A packed lunch will be provided.
Landmatters Permaculture Project is an off-grid community of eight households (low impact dwellings) which has been living to permaculture principles since the outset. It is quite remote, by English standards, and we'll have minibus adventure to get there. It is a Permaculture Association LAND Project and an inspiration and testament to what it takes to really live on the land in Britain.
The Dartington Estate in its current form is the legacy of 'The Dartington Experiment' initiated in 1925 when super-rich pioneers, Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, took over a crumbling medieval estate and turned it into a crucible of innovation and experimentation that embraced the arts, rural crafts, agriculture and manufacturing and applied them to aims of social and economic regeneration, inspired by Rabindranath Tagore, amongst others. Today the medieval buildings survive and are in constant use, and the estate hosts a variety of innovative land-based projects.
We will visit:
School Farm which accommodates a community of independent projects, including School Farm CSA, a women-led, low-mech, no-dig organic market garden, and Gro-cycle, which grows gourmet oyster mushrooms from waste coffee grounds.
Martin Crawford's Forest Garden, part of the Agroforestry Research Trust. Martin is somewhat of a pioneer of forest gardening in the temperate zone, has written several books and has a global following. His tours are a phenomenal insight into the potential of plants, particularly perennials and fungi, and they never fail to amaze and inspire, whatever your level of plant knowledge may be.
Schumacher College sits next door to Martin Crawford's garden and is developing a forest garden of its own. While we are here we will take the opportunity to talk about the college, what it does and why. There will be opportunities later in the programme to take a closer look at what the college is all about and meet some of the staff and students - see Thursday's evening entertainment and the optional extra activities for people staying on.
2. The Transition Town Totnes Day. We spend the day in and around Totnes, getting to know the town through its history and its community spirit. We will learn about the Transition Town project that was born out of a permaculture course, got going in Totnes and became a global movement. We will touch on many of the projects underway under Transition Town Totnes and spend particular time at the REconomy Centre, from where we are supporting an entrepreneurial culture around a new economy.
We will also concentrate on Transition Homes, a new-build housing project that is applying permaculture design to provide much needed affordable, energy-efficient housing under the recent Community Land Trust legislation. We will visit Totnes' famous High Street and use the iconic Totnes Pound to buy our lunch. There may well be a micro-brewery visit en-route as well.
Evening entertainment - Thursday 17th
This is supposedly your night off! Take the time to relax if you want, but there is more ...
Schumacher College are hosting a reception for people on this programme. Numbers are limited. Details to follow.
Local blacksmith and sculptor, Andrew Lacey, will be showing people round his foundry in the nearby village of Berry Pomeroy. Extra cost involved. To Be Confirmed.
Evening entertainment - Friday 18th September
All aboard! Totnes to Dartmouth River Cruise. Our final night blow-out will be aboard one of the passenger vessels that travels the beautiful nine mile River Dart estuary between Totnes and Dartmouth. As we head out towards Dartmouth we will have some native commentary about the river and its local bounty.
On the way back we will feast on fine local food, drink and music. The community will be invited to join us so it will be a great chance to chat and party with the natives!
Book your tickets here
Saturday 19th September - Departure or stay and carry on
You are free to go! Please note onward transport is not included in the fare. Check here for our travel advice.
If you wish to stay longer, you are welcome to do so - please make it clear on your booking form if you want to stay extra nights.
Have a well deserved little holiday here in Totnes - Saturday is market day and town will be bustling - or continue with the action.
Here are some suggestions how:
Dartmoor - Walks this Way. In need of some open space and wilderness? Join us for a good walk up on nearby Dartmoor, southern England's largest area of upland, with local guide Inga Page. Details to follow!