Velwell Orchard

Biodynamics, Aikido, and Traditional Rural Skills

Cob days and gates for sale…

A very quick post to say that on Monday 20th and 27th of August we’ll be cobbing away at Velwell Orchard during the mornings if anyone can come and lend a hand… We’re so nearly there! We’ll also be picking veggies on those days so you’ll go home with a nice box.

Also, I have two small gates in stock that I’m keen to sell… See pictures below and let me know if you’re interested.


Cob Party!

Back in the Spring I said to Kate that I wouldn’t complain if this year was a drought. With all the cobbing to do over the summer I was hoping it wouldn’t be the traditional English washout. So I’m probably one of the only farmers/gardeners you’ll find who is greatful for all this heat and dryness. We just about have enough water to keep the veg irrigated using soaker hoses under a thick layer of mulch and they are looking great. The fact that the grass isn’t growing just means less work.

We really need all the help we can get for cobbing over the next 10 days or so as I have to go back to work for August as our finances have reached rock bottom again. See my last post for cobbing days.

After the great success of our last Cob Party, we’ve decided to hold another on Saturday 4th of August. The cobbing will run from 2pm followed by pizza from our cob oven at 6pm. Please bring wellies and pizza toppings, and let us know if you can come. Feel free to pitch a tent if you want to stay over.

Cob days coming up…

Over the last couple of weeks, with the aid of Tim’s boundless energy and a great cob party we have made awesome progress with the cobbing. There is still a massive amount to do however so I thought I’d post some dates on here where you are all welcome to come and lend a pair of welly-clad legs.

July: Friday 20th, Wednesday 25th, Friday 27th, Monday 30th, Tuesday 31st.

August: Wednesday 1st, Friday 3rd, and finally another cob party on Saturday 4th of August.

All these dates are weather permitting and the times are from 6am until 12:30pm. Breakfast is at 7:30am. See photo! Please let me know if you’re coming.

Hemp can save the World (hopefully)

From Nick Read

This summer is turning out to be wonderful for hemp, I am involved with 10 hemp projects & despite the drought our 20 acre field is growing well and is above waist height after only 5 weeks.
I am writing to you because we are launching a fundraising to help buy a machine to split the stalks into chiv for paper & hempcrete, and the outer layer for fabrics, bedding etc. This opens up huge numbers of new opportunities.
I was on local radio chatting about hemp this week and you can listen here (warning some tunes nsfw!)
The crowdfunding link is here… we would really appreciate your support.
With your help hemp can save the world… hopefully !


We really need to make the most of this lovely weather and now with all the fiddly bits out of the way we can concentrate on many mixes of cob! Let us know if you can help for a few fours. Cobbing hours this week are 6am – 1pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and then our cob party on Saturday 2pm – 6pm followed by a bbq (see previous post).

Good news… a Poem, and a Cob Party!

 The Breath of Nature

By Anne Gray-Thompson

Listen to the wind, the breath of nature
The ins and outs of earthly things
Come to see us in our stillness
Precious sounds these moments bring
Spring Summer Autumn Winter
All seasons, their gifts they share

We take them in our hands to nurture
Plant our seeds because we care
When they grow, the earth will thank us
All around the Land will sing
When we learn to love this goodness
Complete in all, these things depend
Then our love will truly save us
And earthly things will never end

Continue reading “Good news… a Poem, and a Cob Party!”

Velwell Orchard Summer News

Work is slowly progressing on the building, the garden is looking fabulous, and we are getting lots of help from volunteers and WWOOFers but Kate and I are struggling financially and things are getting critical. But we also have some pretty special news too.. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag this time around… Continue reading “Velwell Orchard Summer News”


In my last post, I said we’d be stirring cowhorn silica on thursday morning. What I’d failed to realise is that there’s already a silica stirring taking place at Huxhams Cross Farm on the same day. As I don’t wish to cause any conflict in this regard, I’ve decided not to go ahead with our silica stirring, and instead encourage people to join in at Huxhams.

We will still be doing the cowhorn manure at 7pm on Wednesday after pizza at 5pm. Apologies,


Spring Stirrings and Pizza!

Spring has finally arrived with warm sunshine, primroses everywhere, and birds making a right old din. There is so much to do! Having been delayed by the cold and then wet weather, we now have a lot of work to do to catch up with planting and sowing. Volunteer days this year will be on Thursdays when we’ll concentrate on the gardening work, which leaves the rest of the week for building and occasional part-time paid work which will hopefully see us through the summer.

On Wednesday 18th we will be getting the pizza oven going for 5pm, followed by stirring the cowhorn manure at 7:00pm. Next morning we’ll be rising early to stir the cowhorn silica at 6:30am followed by a hearty breakfast and then the usual volunteer day.

Please come and join us for pizza and/or stirrings, but do let us know if you’re coming so that we know how much dough to make. You’re very welcome to camp over the night if you like.

We still have one place available on our scythe course coming up in May. You’re interested in this please click here.

I am also running a three day gate making course with the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project in May. There are only three places available so if you are interested let me know.

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