Practical Forest Gardening Courses

Part 1: Forest garden design and planting of trees and shrubs: 20th - 24th February 2019

Part 2: Understory planting of established forest garden: 2nd - 5th May 2019

Residential, with non-residential option

The High Heathercombe Centre

Can't make these dates? Click here to be notified about newly scheduled courses



  • Aranya


    Completing his Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design in 2003, Aranya started teaching the following year. He discovered this made his heart sing, so he made it his main focus. Since 2004 he has taught over 85 two-week design courses, something he has no intention of stopping. He feels that it's a privilege to have the opportunity to teach "something that can make a real difference in all our lives".
    Aranya has planted a number of small forest gardens since 1993 and been teaching courses on the subject since 2011.He is also excited about new ways in which permaculture thinking can help us, developing new courses on using its principles to help us design for optimising our health and creating ethical livelihoods.
    In the spring of 2012 Permanent Publications published his first book 'Permaculture Design - a Step-by-Step Guide', which evolved from a set of design course worksheets. He also writes occasionally for magazines and from time to time shares interesting items on his blog. Aranya is currently writing a second book, about a subject he’s especially fascinated by, the application of systems thinking and patterns in permaculture design.
    ‘I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been under the tutoring and guidance of such an inspiring and knowledgeable teacher as Aranya’  -Mel Chambers (PDC Graduate)
  • Phil Gamble

    Phil Gamble

    Phil teaches many of the practical sessions on the forest gardening course - tree planting, propagation, tool care etc. He began making compost by recycling grass mowings through an elephant. Since those years, caring for the gardens of his local wildlife park in Somerset he has qualified in horticulture, training and education. He discovered the 'P' word in the late 1980's and holds the Certificate in Permaculture Design. Originally inspired by a childhood amongst the plants and gardens of his mother and grandfather, Phil trained at Cannington College, Somerset. As head gardener on a large estate in North Somerset, he maintained ornamental grounds and raised vegetables in a one acre walled garden - all by 'traditional' methods. He was asked back to Cannington to join the lecturing staff and found himself on his true path. Qualifying as a further education lecturer the following year he took up his first full-time teaching post at Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester in 1987.

    Offshoots from his courses - spanning the next ten years - included the formation of the West Dorset Organic Gardening Group. Tutoring mainstream courses, not least Groundsmanship and Sports Turf Management taught Phil how to see the damage such industrial methods and practices are causing to our environment and social culture. The sun garden, moon garden and rainbow gardens he looked after for several years in East Devon inspired visitors in an entirely new and refreshing way. Offering talks, demonstrations and tours of all kinds of gardens and teaching the practical skills needed to create them is where Phil's background and the revelation of permaculture join together. As a popular and experienced speaker he has offered illustrated talks to groups on various subjects, including the varied activities of the local group; Turn Lyme Green.
    Visit Phil's website Garden Reassurance for more details.
  • Caroline Aitken

    Caroline Aitken

    Caroline Aitken is a permaculture teacher, designer and consultant and director of Patrick Whitefield Associates. She is qualified in design, permaculture design and horticulture and has a background in gardening and food growing.
    Her experience includes managing two acres of intensive organic vegetable production, managing five acres of ornamental and food gardens at a meditation retreat centre and catering for groups, courses and retreats.
    She lives with her partner and son on a four acre smallholding in Dartmoor where they are working towards self-sufficiency and creating educational spaces.
    Caroline is also co-author with Martin Crawford of Food from your Forest Garden, a comprehensive guide to making best use of your forest garden produce.
    Visit her website and blog Think.Grow.Eat for more information.
  • Martin Crawford

    Martin Crawford

    Martin Crawford started his working life a computer programmer but his passion for organic gardening quickly led to a change in career. Martin has had broad and varied horticultural/agricultural experience over the last 30 years - he has worked for the Yarner Trust in North Devon teaching small-scale organic agriculture; grown food for a small hotel on the Isle of Iona; restored the walled gardens of a manor house in mid-Devon; and run his own organic market garden and tree nursery in South Devon. His experience led him to the concept of forest gardening as a sustainable system that can flourish in our changing climate conditions and it was this that led to the founding of the Agroforestry Research Trust in 1992, where he has been systematically researching plant interactions, unusual crops, etc over the past 25+ years.
    He currently manages a 2 acre Forest Garden in Dartington which he planted over 20 years ago, he runs a commercial tree nursery specialising in unusual trees and shrubs and has an 8-acre trial site, researching fruit and nut trees. He also teaches courses on Forest Gardening and Growing Nut Crops, writes books and edits a quarterly journal, Agroforestry News. He is a director of ‘Gaia’, a Trust formed by James Lovelock to further his work.  He lives in Dartington with his wife and 2 children.
    Visit Martin's website for more details of his work.

Part 1 (five full days): £375
Fully inclusive of all tuition, food, indoor accommodation and course materials.
Concessionary rate: £275
(available for those on low incomes / means-tested benefits but limited to only a third of the places)
Part 2 (four days): £300
Fully inclusive of all tuition, food, indoor accommodation and course materials.
Concessionary rate: £210
(available for those on low incomes / means-tested benefits but limited to only a third of the places)
Save 15% when you book both courses together: £575.
Please note that residential participant numbers for both courses are limited to fourteen (by the availability of beds).


To reserve your place, simply download the relevant version of the course booking form below, fill it in, and return to us with a £100 deposit payment (full details of how to do this are on the form).
Submit your form by email
Microsoft Word version (type in the details and email the completed form back)
Submit your form by post
PDF version - for printing & posting to us, together with a cheque / postal order.  
A deposit is required to reserve your place, which we will hold for you until 3 weeks before the course start date, when any outstanding payment is due. This deposit is non-refundable unless it is necessary for us to cancel the course for any reason. Your place on the course is fully confirmed once full payment has been received.
Cancellation policy
The training date selected is transferable if at least 14 days' notice is given. A transfer fee of £25 will be deducted. Any transferred courses must be taken within 12 months of the original booking and any difference in fees will need to be settled 3 weeks prior to the course start date. Payments are non-refundable if cancellations are made within 14 days of the start date, unless we are able to fill your place.
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