Permaculture, edible forest garden in Somerset. We are transforming a defunct market garden into a forest garden. South west England


United Kingdom


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  • Description


    We are a couple who are converting an old market garden into an edible forest garden and are newbies in this area - so if you have experience with woodwork, renovation or have worked on permaculture projects before we are really going to welcome you.

    We have a few broad themes to engage with the next few months -
    -Energy, finishing projects with solar heating and plumbing in a tank, wind turbine
    - Harnessing water setting up guttering, butts and water storage, digging a french drain
    - mapping the land and planning for earthworks and ponds
    sinking a borehole and creating a pond, plus swales/ terraces
    - preparing the soil, lot of wheelbarrowing mulching with plastic cardboard etc, making hugelbeds, prepping polytunnel

    There is always ongoing woodchopping, weed control, propagating plants, autumn planting, watering, as well as foraging and cooking.


    If you have horticultural experience and are intrigued by the idea of permaculture and cultivating edible perennials you can learn alongside us. It's a few acres in the beautiful countryside of Taunton Deane with a small off grid eco-house, a few polytunnels and hopefully soon some ducks, as well as a separate area for workaway volunteers.

    We are happy to welcome you if you have experience with permaculture, forest gardens or growing edible perennials, or organic gardening as we are newbies and are still getting to grips with the site! It is good for people who want to learn about permaculture and forest gardens or organic gardeners... we are doing a Permaculture Design Course this year.

    It would suit a couple, or two friends. A single person if you like peace and quiet and are happy with your own company too - and if you are a couple who likes to be in nature or go for local walks this place will suit you. We have a couple of bicycles

    We have a caravan with a double bed ( with wood burning stove), as well as camping options in the summer. We also have a couple of tents if you want to camp near the orchard.

    If you have your own vehicle it's a good place to park up.

    This is not a suitable placement for a young person who is primarily looking to improve their English language.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Help with Eco project

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    This project is great for you if you are exploring the possibilities of permaculture but don't have access to land and may be wanting to develop skills while looking for your own project.

    We have met many lovely and dedicated people on permie training courses and would love to welcome you in this opportunity to see how it is starting a project pretty much from scratch. We would be learning and implementing together!

  • Help


    As newbies we would appreciate someone experienced with horticulture who knows what weeds are and what plants need right now. Some jobs that need doing in the next few months are ....

    There's always trying to keep on top of planting, watering and weeding. , strimming and scything as well as mowing with a tractor. Mulching around trees with cardboard and straw, composting, and for those with experience building compost toilets outside, putting a coat of lime on barn and house.

    My partner will probably be preoccupied with solar water heating, plumbing and the defunct wind turbine... and designing a chicken tractor so we can get some chickens. A series of ponds (and swales?) will need putting in with a digger at some point. I would like to get ducks.

    We have a beehive and have been planting the orchard with beeplants, but no bees have taken occupation yet

    This gives you some idea of the sorts of things that might be going on if you come... and soon there will be harvesting apples and pressing them for juice. If you know about propogating plants that would be a great skill to contribute.

    We have done a lot of tree-planting around the perimeter now, but there is still pruning and planting perennials for the spring. the polytunnels need prepping, leaf mould and manure spread about and soon some early planting. We have plenty of pallet wood. There's also a bit of work on upgrading the chicken house - making sure it's fox and rat proof - and creating some storage areas. The sheds could all do with some attention. If you love creating log workshops with a green roof that's a project that would be good to do after the trees have been planted... maybe next year, and then there's finishing the last coat of render on the straw bale house.

    Later in the season there's canning and pressing apples, cider and making herbal remedies ......

    In the winter planting more trees, pruning dead ones, creating a deer fence (we have an easy system ready to go) and putting a gate up to deter deer....

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken


  • Accommodation


    You have your own caravan with a comfy mattress and a small wood burning stove, which is right next to a kitchen and eating area which is for your own use. It is in a shady place and next to the polytunnel

    There is a shady grassed area nearby, with table and chairs where it's lovely to hang out and drink herb tea.

    Toilets are compost and the property is off-grid, but is connected with water - and wifi. There is a sink in the kitchen area. The caravan has its own compost loo which will need to be emptied in the compost bay. At present water is limited on days that are not sunny! We're working on it ....

    There is also plenty of space for camping. At some stage we'd like to build a shepherd's hut - or a willow structure - but that's another project....

    You will eat a vegetarian meal for your main meal, which will be lentils or legume based with vegetables and salads. We will be planting our own edible fruit and vegetable so feel free to forage as you wish. Cereals are available for breakfast and herb teas... there are different varieties of mint outside the barn kitchen area. At some stage we will have chickens and then you can help yourself to eggs! We are vegetarian and eat a lot of greens! Dharma tends to do fried egg and beans as a fallback, so if you like cooking it is good to have variety

    Our cat has taken off to the neighbours .... who has a few females.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The property is in the Somerset countryside - nearest train station Taunton - but you would probably need your own transport. We have bicycles and are doing up a small electric car for local trips .... it's a couple of miles to the closest village. There is a small community run outdoor pool there, and also a lake.

    You will need to enjoy your own company as we do not have groups of people here

    As we have recently moved in we are still networking with the local community. It's very peaceful and quiet here but you can keep your own hours. Sometimes there will be only one person on site, sometimes two (a couple)

    This place is great if you like time to draw, write, read or contemplate!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 817946533812