Velwell Orchard

Biodynamics, Aikido, and Traditional Rural Skills




An opportunity for a fully immersive 9 months in an off-grid, land-based, regenerative community.
Learn a diverse range of skills from harvesting seaweed to baking in a wood-fired oven, from making hay with a scythe to managing a coppice.
October 2019-July 2020. 2-3 Places available. Application deadline end June 2019.


Volunteer days and equinox celebrations

Spring is here! We’ll be starting up our Wednesday volunteer days at Velwell Orchard next Wednesday 20th of March and we’ll be celebrating the spring equinox with pizza from our cob bread oven. Come and help us anytime between 9 and 4. Pizza is at 1pm sharp. Please let us know if you’re coming so we can make enough pizza dough. (Gluten free). Bring toppings and please share transport or come by bike, horse, foot, broomstick.

Volunteer day postponed…

Unfortunately, due to the weather, I’ve decided to postpone tomorrow’s volunteer day for two weeks. I can’t do next week as I have to work.

Hope to see you all on the 13th.


Volunteering next Wednesday

Yesterday, Class 3 came up for their winter visit. They planted Sweet Chestnut and Italian Alder, and made great progress on cutting and stacking wood. Thanks to them for their hard work.

We need to continue this, as well as a few other winter jobs, so we’re organising a day of volunteering next Wednesday from 10am until 4pm. Kate and Jay-Jay will join us for lunch at 1pm. We’ll have some soup but please bring a few things to share as well.

It’s all weather permitting so please don’t come in the rain as it’ll soon all turn in to a muddy mess!

There’ll be some seasoned firewood to take away so come with an empty boot.

Hedge laying courses

The bad news is that all the Devon Rural Skills Trust Courses are now full! The good news is I’m running a couple of two day hedge laying courses in February, one for the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project near Buckfastleigh, and the other for Trill Farm near Axminster. There are only six places on each course so best to book soon if it’s something you’re interested in learning. No experience is necessary.

You can find details here:



Winter Newsletter – January 2019

Our annual winter newsletter is a bit later than usual this year for obvious reasons… mainly the arrival on Christmas Eve of little Jay-Jay. I can tell you he’s been keeping us very busy during the first few weeks of his life. So this is just a brief newsletter this year.


  1. 2018 – Another fruitful year
  2. Biochar
  3. WWOOFing at Velwell Orchard
  4. A WWOOFers experience – Tim Radja
  5. 2019 – The year ahead
  6. Appeal for funds
  7. Thanks to all

Continue reading “Winter Newsletter – January 2019”

Jago John Handley Weiss

And then there were four of us… Jago John Handley Weiss, otherwise known at “Jay-Jay”, born on the 24th of December at 11:40am weighing a solid 8lb 13oz. This picture of our first walk together outside this morning. Thank you all for your love and kind wishes.

Born today at 11:40am

Volunteer days have now ended until the Spring…

Today was our last volunteer day this season. Thanks so much to all of you who have helped out this year, it’s been really good fun and so much work has been done. We really really appreciate all the hard work put in by volunteers and we enjoy the company too. It’s a relief to be able to share the produce rather than having to sell it.

We will have a few work days over the winter, but they’ll be rather impromptu and will depend on the weather. Please keep a look out on the blog for news of these.

We want to especially thank Tim, who arrived at Midsummer and has worked incredibly hard for us. His skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and strong work ethic have been a huge help. Without his efforts things would’ve been extremely difficult and we would never have got to where we have. Tim will be leaving us in the next few weeks to return to Pentiddy to help with the coppicing over the Winter. We hope he’ll come back again one day soon!

Our baby will be arriving soon, he’s due on the 22nd of December, so Kate is busy preparing for that, while I am now needing to work full time hedgelaying, dry stone walling and gate making.

We wish you all a warm and cosy Wintertime.

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