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

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Posted Jul 3 2014 by James Dexter of Ecological Land Co-op

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:


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”.