Velwell Orchard

Biodynamics, Aikido, and Traditional Rural Skills

Biochar Workshop

At Velwell Orchard

On Saturday 19th of December

9am – 4pm

£30 per person

Learn how to make Biochar from hedge brash using our Oregon Kiln. We’ll go through the whole process from lighting to quenching and explain the different methods for activating and using this product. The techniques are applicable from small gardens up to large farms.

You’ll go home with 50 litres of Biochar which you can activate and use on your garden.

5 spaces are available in total and full payment must be made to confirm your place.

You will need to bring your own refreshment and a pair of thick gloves. Welding gloves are good. Avoid wearing anything plastic that could melt from sparks and wear old clothes.

Chestnut Gate charity auction – ends this morning 9:30am!

Dear friends,

I’m selling a gate on eBay to raise money for Old Skills New Ways, an amazing local project educating children in rural skills and nature connection.

Please make a bid and help us raise some money!

Hedge laying courses at Velwell Orchard

This November I’ll be teaching three hedge laying courses at Velwell Orchard. Only 5 spaces available on each course so book now to avoid missing out. You can find details here:

Helpers needed on a Friday

We remain closed to the public until the spring but we are looking for a few helpers to join our small Friday work team here at Velwell Orchard over the coming weeks.

The work involves picking, harvesting, weeding, mulching, tidying and generally keeping the place tidy and proper under the guidance of Jacob.

Helpers must be willing to observe hand washing and distancing protocols.

If you think you can spare a few hours on a regular basis please let us know.

Help needed at Velwell Orchard …

We are looking for a dedicated helper who can lend a hand on a regular basis picking vegetables on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:00am until 10:30am for the rest of August and September.

We also need an extra helper to join our existing team on a Friday, from 9am onwards to help gardening jobs.

Both positions are unpaid but you will go home with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Due to the pandemic, Velwell Orchard remains closed to the public for the rest of the year so we are relying on this small team of helpers to keep things ticking along. If you can help please get in touch.

July at Velwell Orchard


The garden is looking great now thanks to our small team of regular helpers. There is a steady stream of vegetables and quite a bit of fruit.

We are looking for one hard-working and enthusiastic volunteer to join our Friday morning gardening team. Please let us know if you are interested.

In terms of volunteer days we have decided not to reopen this year. We need to ensure we are providing a safe environment for our volunteers and the coronavirus pandemic has focussed our minds more on this important aspect of our work. Over the winter we will be assessing the risks and putting measures in place to ensure we can reopen in the spring.


We are accepting visits by arrangement to collect vegetables on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Please contact us if you wish to get some. Vegetables are also available from Derek in Buckfastleigh on Wednesdays.

This week and next week we have a lot of gooseberries, jostaberries and blackcurrants available on a pick your own basis. As with all of our produce it is free although we will of course accept donations towards the running of the project.

Velwell Orchard works rather differently to other farms in how it funds itself. For some years now we have given away all surplus produce for free. We realised that the food we grow is simply to valuable to sell. Instead, the project is funded entirely by donations from individuals. We accept no other funding, and this enables us to retain our freedom and autonomy, whilst our reliance on community members creates a resilient relationship between people and land. We feel incredibly grateful to the people who give their time, energy and money to the project. Thank you all!


My birthday

It’s not easy to have a “happy birthday” when there is so much suffering in the world.

I’m not much of a birthday person but this year I’d like to invite my friends and family to support a cause that is close to my heart.

It’s my friend, Kerry Stripling’s, 19th birthday next week and I’m helping her to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. She has first hand experience of how important this cause is and I’d be really grateful if anyone would consider supporting her aim to raise £500. Small things often make the biggest differences. Please follow the link below to donate. It’s super quick and easy.

Thank you!

May has arrived at Velwell Orchard

A quick message to say Happy May Day/Beltane to all, and to thank you all again for all the generous donations that have been coming in. We’re now in a very healthy financial state going forward.

May – my favourite month! The leaves are all so young and fresh, everything is green, and the sun is bright, without being too intense. The hedgerows are full of flowers and, the bees are busy all over, and the birds are singing their hearts out. The garden is looking fabulous now, the beds are planted and sown, the grass is neatly cut, the soft fruit has been mulched, the logs are stacked, and the tidying up has been done. It’s amazing how quickly Velwell Orchard has been tranformed into a small patch of Heaven here on Earth.

We’re greatly missing our trusty volunteers and looking forward to a time when we can all be together again. Until then, here are a few photos.


Velwell Orchard update

A few weeks ago we sent out a rather desperate plea for some funds. We weren’t quite expecting the response we got. We’ve received over £1,000! So thank you so much to all of you who have contributed, it’s very much appreciated. We have already used some money to buy a few much needed tools, and now we have a solid fund which we can dip into when needed.

We’re really missing all the volunteers but we have managed to get quite a bit of work done over the past three weeks. We have yet to decide how to distribute the produce when it starts to come. Any ideas on how this should be done are welcome.

Here are a few photos:

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