The land is comprised of approximately 42 acres of which 17 acres are semi-natural ancient woodland, 22 acres are pasture and the remainder is naturally regenerating scrub and hedgerows. There is a stream along the most north-westerly boundary.
The co-operative’s members have a diverse range of backgrounds and skills such as sustainable land use, organic horticulture, woodland management and wood crafts, ecology of biodiversity, conservation, arts, education, group facilitation and working within co-operative structures. Most are trained in Permaculture design.
The residents have the intention to create a thriving low impact community, a place where we can explore ways of living gently on the earth and inspire others to do the same. We feel this is an appropriate thing to do in order to take personal responsibility for climate change and the current environmental crisis. We also wish to live like this out of a sense of responsibility to future generations.
The Purpose of Landmatters Co-operative
To be a thriving, nature-connected permaculture community living low-impact solutions that reduce our ecological footprint, so we can be an active part of creating a sustainable world.
We connect with and steward the land in order to enhance its diversity, productivity and beauty, whilst providing an educational resource to the wider community.
- We use permaculture Ethics, Principles and Design methods.
- We are “learning by doing” – reskilling ourselves and others.
- We use Consensus Decision-making process, and are committed to healthy communication using the “Way of Council” and other relevant tools.
- We live off-grid in low-impact structures. We use wind and solar power, harvest woood and water from the land, and compost our own wastes.
- We produce increasing amounts of food and other products from the land.
- We make this land the focus of our livelihoods and activities, hosting visitors, volunteers and courses here.
- We share and maintain communal spaces and vehicles.
- We consciously connect to nature by being in touch with the elements, observing the natural world and celebrating the seasonal cycles.
- We believe in positive change, working towards an equitable and sustainable future – personally, locally and globally.
Quality of Life Statement
We feel at one with the natural world
We feel connected, energized and joyful
We are spiritually nourished
Our children feel understood, inspired, loved and nourished
We feel productive and effective
We experience abundance, inspiration and flow
We are supported and appreciated
We enjoy fulfilling our purpose together and have fun
Our relationships are healthy, respectful and co-operative
We enjoy learning and exchanging ideas
We feel that we are having a beneficial impact on the wider world
More About Us
The predominantly oak woodlands stand on the west- and north-facing slopes. We have been processing the trees that have fallen in the woods and hedges, including a huge oak by the stream and a large dead oak that was considered too dangerous to leaving standing. The new planting next to the woodland has grown well, with minimal rabbit and deer damage.
We continue to redesign and improve the communal gardens. They are now consolidated into an area near the communal kitchen. We also have our long Hugel beds that provided an excellent crop of courgettes and squashes for the community. We have experimented with dehydrating some of the harvest , enabling us to still be eating courgettes through the winter. Other vegetables that are preserved for the winter included some our our home-grown tomatoes (dehydrated and preserved in oils), squashes, onions and garlic. We continue to experiment with growing varieties and species to fit the site and our needs as a community. In 2013 we built our first indoor growing space. We now have a 30 foot x 14 foot ‘Polypod’. The pod is a combinationof local crafts innovation built with a locally sourced timber frame that was the inspiration of local craftsman Rowan Stickland. The design used Permaculture principles and experimentation in both its concept and development. This space gives much-needed additional indoor growing capacity and helps feed the community. In 2015 we redesigned the Mandala beds. These beds had been in use for over 6 years and we felt it was time for a total redesign. We used the pigs to convert the area to bare ground, made a base map including contours of the land, and then did a permaculture design of the landscaping and planting of the new area. In 2016 this area was very productive and a colourful welcome to visitors as they arrived on site. In 2017 three households took on a section each growing a range of crops for their kitchens.
The 2 Dartmoor ponies continue to provide diversity to the grazing pattern and, in tandem with the sheep that visit each year, provide large amounts of manure for the growing areas. The younger pony has now been trained to Long Rein – the basis of pulling a cart, woodland extraction equipment and agricultural machinery should it be required. The older pony contracted laminitis so grazing management systems have been explored and adapted. A boundary grazing system has been introduced. It reduces hedgerow encroachment and enables the ponies’ weight to be managed by reducing the amount of grass available. A male Gypsy Cob has been introduced to balance the mini-herd dynamic. He is already trained on the Long Rein and will provide an example to follow for the other horse, as well as eating the majority of the grazing area. Natural Horsemanship workshops are run occassionally as well as specialist days, e.g. on the subject of Laminitis. There is a Pony Blog on this website, which aims to share some of the holistic training methods we are using to lead the ponies into land-based work.
Landmatters has several groups of different varieties of laying hens. Various methods are employed for housing the birds, including a chicken tractor, moveable pens and a chicken house.
Since the spring 2012 we have had a couple of top bar hives (built at LM) in one of the fields in an area of new coppice. It is off the beaten track of the main community but the bees are often seen buzzing about in the veggie gardens and on the land. Some years they get wiped out by wasp invasion, but the hives remain available for passing swarms.
Subsistence goods and services
We are self-sufficient in electricity generated through renewable energy, in water (rainwater and borehole water) and shelter. The bulk of our firewood needs are met through the sustainable management of our own woodland and hedgerows. Food is grown in communal and individual growing areas, aided by improved composting, rainwater collection and pumping systems. Social goods such as shared transport, shared childcare and community activities are also important.
We continue to run our holding completely off-grid using wind generators and photo-voltaic panels to produce our electricity. Having been accepted as a venue for Transition Town Totnes’ Transition Streets programme, we have 15 photo-voltaic panels on the roof of the barn, doubling our overall electricity generation. This additional capacity has allowed us to run a number of basic technologies, such as a food dehydrator to preserve food grown on the land. We have also been able to offer more reliable electricity provision for volunteers and course participants, and to introduce a more varied teaching provision through the use of electronic multimedia outputs.