The Smallholding

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At a time ‘when you never had it so good’, in 1982, I moved from London to Surrey to start an organic smallholding with those 3 1/2 acres and my then partner. Two extensions were added to The Bungalow to satisfy modern standards. Grassland served as paddocks for a flock of four Shetland sheep for 20 years. We also kept free range chickens, geese, ducks, bees and some quail.

Since the great hurricane of 1984, the shelter belt at the back has been cleared and replanted with a variety of trees. There is plenty of wood to feed the stove in winter. The pond has been desilted to stop flooding.

A large vegetable patch was established to produce organic crops to sell at local markets. Now much reduced, it still produces crops for the house; part of it serves as a herb garden.

Since the Permaculture Design Course held here in August 1991, there are undulating edges, butts full of rainwater, a spacious compost loo and various salad plants and herbs nestle successfully under plum, mulberry, quince, cherry and pear tree. Perennial patches of edibles are encouraged to supply their own seedlings and have become well established. The beehives serve as a sanctuary for the beekeepers’ club.