if anybody is thinking of doing a permaculture course then I highly recomend doing Patrick Whitefields course. I have been asked by a fellow blogger to put the word around as the course has a lot of places left.
Ragmans Lane Farm, Gloucestershire
3rd – 16th June 2007
9th – 22nd September 2007
This is the classic permaculture course. It focuses on skills we can put into action in our own lives, in both town and country. It also looks at permaculture in its wider context, as a way of putting many diverse green ideas into a coherent whole. It’s suitable both for beginners and for those in relevant professions – gardeners, farmers, landscape designers, foresters, architects etc – who want to add a permaculture perspective to their skills.
A wide range of teaching methods is used, including talks, slide shows, discussions and exercises, both indoor and outdoor. The main focus of the course is a series of design exercises on the land. Participants can choose between a domestic garden, a smallholding or the farm itself for their permaculture design project.
We make full use of the farm as a teaching resource, with outdoor sessions every day. Some subjects are taught by the people who live and work on the farm, each contributing their own expertise and experience. There’s at least one session of practical work in the farm gardens on each course. To get an idea of the full range of subjects covered by the course, please see the example timetable below.
There’s a range of optional evening activities, including a session on healing, campfires and hot tubs. A favourite activity on the weekend is canoeing down the River Wye amid the beautiful wooded scenery (cost approx £10).
The Design Course is recognised by the international permaculture community, and can lead to the informal Diploma of Permaculture Design. Our Design Courses at Ragmans Lane can also lead to a nationally recognised qualification, because they make up two modules of the five-module Sustainable Land Use course, which we also teach at Ragmans Lane.
Patrick’s major permaculture book, The Earth Care Manual is available to course participants at half price. You can order your copy in advance or receive it on the course. (See below)
The main tutors are Patrick and Cathy Whitefield.
Guest tutors include:
Sarah Pugh, urban and community permaculturist
‘Josh’ Joshua, land manager at Ragmans Lane
Matt Dunwell, permaculture pioneer and the farmer of Ragmans Lane
We also make two visits. One is to Oaklands Park, a biodynamic community, to see innovative water and sewage treatment systems and the vegetable gardens, where we’re shown round by Mark Moodie, a pioneer in biological water treatment. The other is to Achitype, a firm of ecological architects, to see their recently-completed office building and a slide show of their work by partner Jonathan Hines.
Ragmans Lane Farm is situated in beautiful countryside in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, on the banks of the River Wye. A number of interesting examples of permaculture in practice can be seen there. One of these is shii-take mushroom production, in which oak logs from the nearby forest are turned into a valuable food product when they’re inoculated with the mushrooms. Another is apple juice making, a way of adding value to the products of local orchards, giving them a value which preserves them in the landscape.
The farm is also the home of the Willow Bank, which supplies a wide range of willow varieties and installs living willow structures. Many of these can be seen around the farm. In addition, there is an interesting range of ecological building styles on the farm, and there is both mature and newly planted woodland.
For more information on the farm, including a pictorial tour, see http://www.ragmans.co.uk (Please note that you should use the booking form on this website, not the one on the Ragmans Lane site.)
This is in the bunkhouse, a converted stone barn with many ecological features. Accommodation is basic and there are no individual or double rooms, but if you want privacy you are welcome to camp.
The camping site, with beautiful views of the local landscape, is right beside the bunkhouse. Campers have full use of the bunkhouse facilities and there is no reduction in charge for camping.
Full vegetarian board is provided and the great majority of the food is organic.