now that the changes we outlined in the original Land Use Review (below) are largely in place, we are revising the project through a process of collaboration and consultation to explore how we can further develop on this work and continue to place the estate at the forefront of experimental land use and rural resilience.
‘The work that we are undertaking at Dartington will once again see the estate placed at the forefront of experimental land use. Our vision is that the whole estate, comprising its buildings woods and farmland will become an exemplar of diversity and rural re-generation.
We will offer opportunities for learning to individuals and similar organisations and be held up as an example of ‘best practice’ when it comes to land management.
The estate is already being used to demonstrate resilience amongst local communities through increasing employment opportunities, which enable fulfilling livelihoods for its many tenants. Animal welfare, the protection of soils and water, the enhancement of biodiversity and food security are essential corner-stones to this work.’
John Channon, Dartington Hall Trust Estate Manager
- An introduction to our LUR by Rhodri Samuel, Chief Executive‘The Dartington Hall estate has a remarkably beautiful landscape that is loved and enjoyed by all our visitors – from our local community to much further afield. This same landscape enchanted Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst who bought the estate in 1925 to begin their experiment in rural regeneration.’The experiment combined the most progressive international thinking and talent in agriculture, forestry, education, art, architecture and enterprise with strong human values of care and respect for the individual and the community.The Elmhirsts’ vision of wholeness, alongside their appetite for creative experimentation and their willingness to tackle intractable social and economic problems, was designed to improve our world. This provides a source of inspiration to The Dartington Hall Trust today and in the future.The Land Use Review (LUR) process was established to guide us through a time of transition around how we use Dartington’s land. Through consulting with the community and a range of agricultural experts, we have established a diverse, talented and innovative land-based community here on the estate. We are keen to nurture this community in order to help it flourish.’Rhodri
- About the LUR: Principles and ChallengesDartington’s trustees appointed a land use review steering group in 2010, asking it to plan a more environmentally, socially and financially sustainable future for the estate.The resulting report, published in 2012, proposed that Dartington should consider hosting a multiformity of tenants, encourage new models of social entrepreneurship , provide land-based learning opportunities and adopt and demonstrate different approaches to land use, management and production.The original concept of the LUR process was that it would lay the foundation for ongoing work on the estate which would be regularly reviewed against its original objectives.The estate’s land provides a physical framework on which the majority of the Dartington Hall Trusts’ activity takes place, so the challenge for the future is to ensure that the vision outlined in the LUR, is sufficiently resilient to change so that it can support the Trusts’ current and future work for many decades to come.
- In their words: how does the LUR support growers and communities?‘It might be easy to feel like Dartington is encouraging a lot of enterprises that will be competing with us for volunteers, consumers, funders, etc. The fact is we work hard to produce top quality veg that’s constantly being praised by our members and local shops, so we don’t have much need to worry about competition as long as we continue to deliver excellence.Alongside that, since the new Community Resilience Manager (Food & Farming) started, to support the Land Use Review process, we’ve felt a real connection with the Trust, being offered inclusiveness, assistance, and mutual benefit, which far outweighs any concerns we may have about competition. With strong local networks comes increased stability for everyone.’ – School Farm CSA‘The orchard at Week is at the heart of our community, physically and metaphorically. This beautiful site, cared for by the community, has had benefits we could not have foreseen; we have got to know each other better; young, old, fit and less able residents all join in and to see the orchard grow as a result of our joint efforts is a joy – not to mention the delight of home-made cake at our monthly working parties.’ – Community Orchard Week Ltd (COW)‘Taking on the tenancy at Dartington offers us a unique opportunity to push the boundaries of diversification. This helps us to move away from the otherwise inevitable reliance on large intensive and unsustainable forms of modern agriculture.’ – Jon Perkin, Dartington Dairy