We see more than 800,000 visitors from across the world join us here every year at Dartington. They take part in our events, courses, and festivals and enjoy our cinema, shops, restaurant and gardens.

Dartington is many things to many people but one aim underpins everything. And that’s how we use our estate to stimulate new thinking and action to help develop a more sustainable, more just and more enriching world. In this, very little has changed since Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst bought this estate in 1925 and embarked on what they called the Dartington Experiment to regenerate a rural community.

The Elmhirsts welcomed artists, economists, horticulturists and social reformers to Dartington and encouraged them to grapple with the pressing issues of their day. The common theme then, as now, concentrated on making the world a better place for others. Today we are a social enterprise that ploughs surplus from our commercial enterprises back into the many projects we fund and support.

Over the last year we have:

Volunteer at an Abundant Life event

  • Empowered over 550 people to be more ambitious about the change they can achieve in the world through our courses at Schumacher College and The Social Entreprise Hub.
  • Enabled over 950 exceptional individuals to make things happen by hosting and encouraging their own creative and enterprising activities.
  • Supported the economic life of the region by supporting over 450 different enterprises, being a major employer with over 240 employees and adding £16m to the economy through our enterprise activities at our shops, in hospitality, in our charitable programmes and through our diverse property portfolio.
  • Enriched the cultural and creative life of the community in the South West with over 1,100 artistic events reaching over 100,000 people ranging from the internationally renowned musical Summer School, our festivals, our craft education and our independent cinema.
  • Helped the most vulnerable to live secure and settled lives that contribute to and are supported by their local communities through projects such as Landworks.

A musician performs at a concert at Dartington

  • Shared our skills, resources and learning with over 100 like-minded partners to widen our impact, improve our learning and increase the difference we can make.
  • Maintained our publicly accessible estate, with over 800,000 visitors, as a place of inspiration and beauty for the benefit of our community and visitors.

Economic Impact

The Dartington Hall Trust makes a valuable contribution to the local and national economy.

A 2014 independent report estimated that Dartington supports an impact on the national economy of circa £24.9m in gross value added annually, and helps directly and indirectly to support 716 FTE jobs. Most of this impact is concentrated in the South West, with £19.4mn in GVA and in 597 FTE jobs. Click the graphic to view a larger version.

Dartington and the economy

The Future

In 2014/15 and beyond, we aim to improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of our communities. We will do this by:

  • Enabling our people, land and buildings to actively support community resilience and social change
  • Providing people of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to learn and engage with our work
  • Supporting a thriving community of social entrepreneurs
  • Developing a vibrant arts programme that speaks to creative and resilient communities
  • Launching new activities that show the value of wellbeing as part of resilient communities
  • Creating an exciting and productive network of land based activities supporting local food culture
  • Reaching more people through networks of national and international connections and sharing learning

Listen: BBC interviews on Dartington estate life


Hear the interviews

Public Access Policies

Dartington aerial shot taken above Lower Drive

Our estate policies aim to set out Dartington’s position on everything that happens on the estate, in order to help all our visitors enjoy their time here.

Read the policies here