Velwell Orchard

Biodynamics, Aikido, and Traditional Rural Skills

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.




Coppicing course at Pentiddy Woods!

There are still a couple of places available for Saturday. Grab one for just £35!

Tool rehandling workshop!

A generous offer from Melissa Milne:
I have three spaces available on my garden tool re-handling workshop I want to make available for free for volunteer community gardeners.
November 23rd (Saturday) 10am to 12:30pm, in the craft room of the Mansion, Totnes.
We will be concentrating on tool re-handling, working with standard sized garden forks and spades.
I will however need to charge for materials as I am sourcing British made ash handles especially.
I also have a few fork ends if people want to come away with an almost brand new garden fork.
If you are interested please contact me on 07399459842  or
For those who’d like an idea of materials costs;
Handles will range from £9 to £12.50
Rivets 50p each
Fork ends £5 to £6
Poster with details:

No more volunteer days

Volunteer days cancelled!

Don’t worry! We’ll resume again in the Spring but the ground is too wet for vehicles to park now and most of the veggies and fruits have been harvested. Saying that, we do have a lot of medlars on the trees. If anyone would like to come and pick and use them please let me know.

Thank you to all of those of you who have helped out this year, including those who support us from afar, we really do appreciate it.

We will hopefully arrange some sort of Midwinter Gathering soon.

Lots of love from us all at Velwell Orchard.

Volunteer day cancelled tomorow

Sorry! Too wet.

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