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Devon Association of Smallholders

122 A smallholder life for me: Becoming a smallholder: why, how, what and when
Venue: Chulmleigh
Cost: £55 (£75 for Non-members)
Tutor: Jack Smellie and David Chidgey
Course materials: Access to private website with downloads and links plus FaceBook support
Provided: Teas, coffees, soft drinks, biscuits/cakes
What you need to bring: Packed lunch, clean outdoor clothes & wellies, waterproof coat (just in case), inside shoes (or just your socks!), notebook

Who is this course designed for?

Perfect for the would-be/ about-to-be smallholder all set to live the dream: a course to inspire and give you both knowledge and confidence, covering: why you want to become a smallholder, skills needed, legalities, what to look for in a potential smallholding, monies involved, when and how to begin. Participants will meet all our amazing animals and learn what really happens when you stand in the middle of a field with a feed bucket... We aim to tailor the course to the particular situations and expectations of the participants so when you book, do please give as much detail about yourself as you can. Highly recommend looking at our daily blog before you come: www.relaxedathome.org.uk

The course will cover the following:

Growing your own, re-connecting with nature, owning a few chickens or even a pig, being self-sufficient (and self-reliant): all these are really healthy and exciting reasons for wanting to become a smallholder. A lot of people seem to dream about it at some stage in their lives: for us it was the retirement dream that we ended up bringing forward – by about twenty years!!!

A smallholder needs to balance the thrill and excitement of managing one's own land with a healthy dose of realism about both one's abilities (physical and mental) as well as the size of wallet!! And by land we mean anything from a bit of garden to several acres. (Interesting fact: we actually worked harder farming one acre than we now do on ten!!).

‘A smallholder life for me’ takes you on a journey that will try to help you turn your dreams into a way of life!

We begin by looking at the ‘whys’: discussing the reasons why you want to become a smallholder alongside why you think it will work, the skills you (and your family) might need and why it is a good idea to be aware of both the potential rewards and problems: not enough eggs in the winter, too many in the summer; fabulous tasting pork, not enough freezer space to keep it in...

We will also talk through the ‘hows’: the legal side of it all, the paperwork, what to look for in a smallholding, the kind of features that need to be in place/get sorted fairly quickly (fencing, fencing and then a bit more fencing!), how to source livestock and basic livestock requirements. Then there is the most crucial how, as in HOW much? (That’s why we mentioned the wallet!!)!!!

Finally, there are the ‘whats and whens’: what are the ideal starting points (chickens, a polytunnel, a cow!!) and when to begin, how your initial plans will be led by the time of year you move, what kinds of decisions you will need to make sooner rather than later AND get right – putting your first muck heap in the wrong place is not to be recommended!

We will walk round the smallholding in order to discuss all the above in situ - and yes we will show you the muck heap we had to move, TWICE - as well as all the lovely new field shelters we had built in the first three months and without which we could not have got through our first winter!! We aim to tailor the course to the particular situations and expectations of the participants so when you book, do please give as much detail about yourself as you can.

You will hopefully leave inspired and brimming with confidence and, we would love, with a promise to keep in touch to let us know how you get on!!

Training Officer: Laine Shepherd
Basset Farm, Chilsworthy, HOLSWORTHY. EX22 7BL
email: training@devonsmallholders.co.uk
Phone: 07595 296 613

Pay by faster payments:
Bank Account Name: DASH
Bank Account Number: 31351460
Bank Sort Code: 77-09-21
Bank: Lloyds
Reference: your membership
number and course number

Cheques can be sent to:
DASH Training
Basset Farm
EX22 7BL
Make cheques payable to Devon Association of Smallholders

To book your place on a course please email or phone to check availability. training@devonsmallholders.co.uk 07595 296 613

Please note: If for any reason you need to cancel your place on a course, 2 weeks notice prior to the course date will be required to receive a full refund. If you have reserved a place, please make sure we receive payment 3 weeks before the course (6 weeks for non-members). Thank you.

Most of our courses are aimed at adults and are quite intensive, so they are not aimed at children. If you would like to bring a child on a course please discuss it with the training manager before booking. It is assumed that bookings you make are for adults. Only people who have paid the course fee are allowed at the training venue. Do not bring pets or other animals to the training venue unless you are required to do so as part of the course. Most venues are working smallholdings and dogs or other animals (even if left in your car) are disruptive and compromise biosecurity.