Velwell Orchard

Biodynamics, Aikido, and Traditional Rural Skills

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:

Thank you!

Thanks so much to those of you who have sent in money in recent days. We’re so grateful.

A brief update from Velwell Orchard

Unfortunately, we remain closed to volunteers and the public at this time. Please respect goverment advice and stay well and safe.

Jacob, Sasha, Kate and I, helped by Lola and Jago, are currently working very hard preparing, sowing, planting, mowing and doing our best to get as much food growing as possible with our limited resources.

We would be immensely grateful for any financial assistance. Please let me know if you can make a contribution via the Velwell Orchard bank account. We understand that many people are going through tough times at the moment but even very small amounts make a big difference to us.

Spring at Velwell Orchard

The sun shone today, the sky seemed a brighter blue than usual and the birds were singing their hearts out with news of Spring’s arrival. We peeled off our winter layers and enjoyed a coffee in the garden at Velwell Orchard. It felt like the first time I’d been able to draw breath in a long while. Jago is walking now, and Lola was there too to help out for a bit.

Over the winter Sasha and I have been working our socks of to try and save some money to see the family through the summer months when we’ll working full time at the Orchard. Sasha has been with us nearly a year now and what a blessing this has been.

This week we’re tying up a few loose ends and next week we hope to begin sorting the garden out. There is a lot to do as we’ve not been able to do any work here due in part to the weather but also because of our work commitments.

I had hoped we could begin our volunteer days next wednesday, but this is beginning to look doubtful, with new restrictions coming in because of the coronavirus. Everything has been thrown up in the air and who knows whether it’ll land on its feet like Baggins, our faithful farm cat.

We depend of course on our volunteers, not only for help on the land, but on their enthusiam, their experience, their love of nature and perhaps mostly, upon their kindness. So what will happen at Velwell Orchard this summer is anyone’s guess.

One thing I do know for sure is that there is currently £16.80 in the Velwell Bank Account. Ordering this year’s seeds and purchasing chicken food over the winter has completely cleaned out the account. Most of you will be tightening your belts now, as society retreats futher into its shell and I understand that. As someone who has lived on very little money for a very long time, I know about this more than many. But if anyone does feel they can support Velwell Orchard with a little money, we’d be very grateful.

At present we receive £34 per month in regular donations from a few very loyal and kindly folks, but this simply is not enough to cover the costs of running the project.

We really dont know what the future holds for Velwell Orchard, but somehow it has survived as a being since Derek took guardianship back in 1994 and it’s my personal feeling it has plenty of life left in it yet.

Hedge laying, scything and aikido

What do these three things have in common?

Introduction to Hedge Laying at Scoriton Farm

Thursday 27th & Firday 28th February, 9am – 5pm.

Cost: £60 (Inc. VAT)

​To book please click here.

As well as hedge laying, this course includes tool sharpening, as well as discussion around the conservation value and history of Devon hedges, and costs and benefits of various management techniques.

Learn to Scythe at Velwell Orchard

Saturday 30th of May, 2pm – 6pm, Sunday 31st of May, 6am – 10am

Cost: £60/£40 concessions.

This beginners course will introduce you to the correct use of the scythe. You’ll learn how to set it up properly according to your body’s proportions, how to peen and hone the blade, and mow using universal principals of motion so that you can mow easily and efficiently without stressing your body. We will also discuss meadow and lawn management for the benefit of wildlife and humans, how to make hay, and the use of grass cuttings as mulch.

To book please contact me direct.

More information can be found here.

Aikido Classes for Childen and Adults

At Buckfastleigh Town Hall on Tuesdays.

Learn to defend yourself – without fighting.

I teach children from 7 years old and adults too. No experience is necessary. Find out more here.




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