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  • Posted July 3rd, 2014
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    Unique opportunity to live on a low-impact, off-grid smallholding in Devon

    Unique opportunity to live on a low-impact, off-grid smallholding in Devon

    My name is James Dexter and I am one of the new tenants at Greenham Reach which is a low-impact farming project established in north Devon by the Ecological Land Coop  (ELC) – see website. We have planning permission to live on the land and build a low impact dwelling. There are 3 plots on site and I have plot B which is 6.75 acres. Plots A  and C are being farmed by two families with kids. The exact location is here: http://goo.gl/maps/4WXaY

    I am looking for two people (friends and couples considered too) with some growing experience/general practical skills or a desire to learn to help me with the establishment of the holding and ultimately the house building and the development of a low-impact, land-based business. For those who want to collaborate long term, be part of the project and develop their own interests I am offering accommodation in a large shared static caravan.  Utilities are included – there is solar PV electricity and gas for cooking and heating. Water is collected from rainwater tanks which are treated with a micro filter and UV filter. There is a shared compost toilet on site, there is no plumbed-in water as yet but this would be one of the jobs we would be working on. The schedule of work would be flexible and negotiable depending on your/my needs/commitments but is likely to follow a regular working week pattern in order to tap into local markets and retail outlets. Bear in mind this is a new project and I have only been here 4 months. Even so, my current co-worker Sara and I have got quite a bit done. My land-based business centres around growing high-quality salad leaves in a no-dig market garden for local retail and wholesale. We have also planted the beginnings of a forest garden, permaculture style, and in the future there could be provision for chickens, sheep and pigs. The kind of work that needs doing is:

    • Tending the market garden, picking, packing and selling salad
    • Putting up a polytunnel, fencing.
    • Working on farm infrastructure (irrigation, ancillary buildings etc)
    • Driving a tractor
    • Scything
    • Tree planting
    • Building: insulating the current statics and constructing the main dwelling
    • Developing new markets and new ideas.

    So, if you are interested in living an off-grid, low-impact lifestyle on the land, rent and bill-free in a beautiful part of Devon with good transport links to London and the south west then get in touch for a chat at:

    [email protected]

    If you want to know more about me and my 20-year background in organic farming and gardening then have a look here:

    http://www.earwig-organics.co.uk/code/about.php

    It is somewhat out of date as I don’t live in Norwich anymore and selling GeoGro/Rockdust is not my priority these days, but you will get the idea.

    All the best
    James Dexter

    P.S. Short notice, but we have a work day coming up on the 5th of July. For those interested it would a great opportunity to see smallholdings at their early stages of establishment, to meet members and supporters of the co-operative and if you aren’t already a member, to learn more about the co-operative. It can also be, in the words of one of our members, “a brilliant time … I came home feeling revitalized and healthy, thanks all”.

    elc2

    elc3

    elc4

    elc5


    The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's


    10 Comments

    • 1steve September 5th, 2015

      Hi are you still looking for people?

    • 2Dave Darby September 5th, 2015

      No, but there will be more settlements – keep looking at the Ecological Land Co-op website.

    • 3Chris March 1st, 2016

      Hi James,

      Are you in need of any extra hands? I am actively researching off grid living.

      Cheers, Chris

    • 4James Dexter June 19th, 2016

      Hi Chris
      Sorry I did not reply but my email has changed since that post in 2014.
      I am in need of help again as my current helper has left. If you are still interested get in touch.
      Cheers
      James.

    • 5Lee Passmore July 15th, 2016

      Hi James
      my partner and I are also planning to move off grid end 2016/beginning 2017.
      Would be keen to to know if there is a any room for us to join you in North Devon on a more permanent basis?
      I’m on [email protected]
      Would be good to hear from you
      Best

      Lee

    • 6Richard January 14th, 2017

      Where abouts are you in North Devon I don’t have any experience but very keen to live of grid if you would like an apprentices young and hardworking

    • 7Amber and rob January 16th, 2017

      Hi James, me and my girlfriend have been active in the low impact/ off grid lifestyle now for just over nine months. And have decided to look into the opportunites of having our own land to do exactly what you seem to be doing as we feel that it is the best way of life and have a very good understanding of land based work. I am a 20 year old, well matured adult that has managed to gain my horticulture level one along side with my chainsaw maintinance and cross cutting timber, as well as my basic tree felling. I gained these quailifations in hope that some day a may use them to better my way of life. We actually live in a little two birth caravan. Neither of us drive and we currently are looking for something to spend our time doing while still enjoying the care free, outdoors lifestyle that the caravan life brings. My girlfriend very much enjoys learning about herbs and plants that aid in health,
      If you would like to talk more about the possibility of us potentially joining you to help grow what you have already started. Please email us at: [email protected]

      Thank you for reading this- it’s much appreciated.

      Amber & Rob

    • 8James Dexter February 17th, 2017

      Hi Richard
      I never heard back from you
      Are you still interested?
      Regards
      James.

    • 9James Dexter February 17th, 2017

      Hi rob and amber
      I never heard back from you…
      Are you still interested?
      Regards
      James Dexter

    • 10James Dexter February 17th, 2017

      Hi Lee
      How did your plans work out?
      Are you still interested in our opportunity here?
      Cheers
      James
      Wild geese acres.

    • 11Wayne Arthur Dunford April 3rd, 2017

      Hi James, have emailed you at [email protected] hope this is the correct one?

    • 12Wayne Arthur Dunford April 3rd, 2017

      Hi James, appears that e-mail address not working.
      Let me introduce myself, my name is Wayne Dunford and I will be 60yrs old this July.
      I am a single man living in a one bed flat in Exeter, I have been here for 11 years and the past few years have been very difficult and have wanted to live the off grid life for many years but never had the nerve to do it.
      I am reasonably fit and healthy, like to consider myself a hard worker.
      Would be great to hear from you if you have any openings at this time.

      Best regards.Wayne

    • 13Julie Stephenson August 2nd, 2017

      Good morning James. My name is Julie. My husband Mike shared your link with me this morning. We are very interested in your project here in Devon. Our son Joel, 17, is currently in Sweden working on an organic farm near Gothenburg. After three a month stay there, he is due back in the UK on the 13th August. He is also doing an online permiculture course. We ourselves organically farmed 5 acres of land on a 23 acre estate that we leased in the Caribbean island of Grenada. My husband is an electrician by trade. I, as well as my family, are natural health practitioners.
      We would love to meet with you as we are currently looking for a place where we can use the skills we have acquired over the years, and live in a natural environment.
      Please contact us either on: Mike 07393294279 or 07944809285
      Thank you and hope to hear back from you soon.
      Julie Stephenson

    • 14Sophie Fox March 13th, 2018

      Hi james I would very much like to get in contact with you, can I have your new email address? Thanks, Sophie

    • 15Andy June 20th, 2019

      Hi, I know this post is old, wondering how you are all doing? I am moving to Dartmoor very soon with my young son, I’m good with my hands (been in the building trade for 13 years) but rubbish at planting food etc, I am looking for an off grid community to join so we can help and be helped, and live a fee natural life, please get in touch if you need help or have any openings or trial weeks etc, we are desperate to move asap and can offer a lot in return, I am 30 years old fit and willing to work, sick of providing for our corrupt govrnmnt. please get in touch by email ([email protected]). Looking for a permanent relocation. Thanks for reading, Andy

    • 16Jodie July 14th, 2019

      Hi James, I don’t know if your still looking for someone, I have a partner and 3 children 13, 10 and 6 or do you have a spot of land you would be will to rent that we could possibly eventually build a wooden structure

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