mark best

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since May 12, 2018
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Recent posts by mark best

I was wondering how people found/researched the community they are currently living in?

I am planning on moving from back to the UK (Devon/ Somerset) from Spain but don't know the area and don't really know what the communities are like.
I am originally from the north east and a lot of the areas up there have a lot of problems with decline due to the de-industrialization and lack of employment. This has really impacted the community since most young people I know left to go to the city.
Are there similar problems in the agricultural areas like Devon/Somerset or are there still strong communities there? Is this something that exists more in wales?

One idea I had was to just drive a car around but i figured this will take ages and there has to be a smarter way I can do some of the work from here.

I thought about looking up permaculture projects there and visiting them so i can get an understanding of the areas. I also thought this must be much more of a problem in the US since everything is so much more spread out.

Any thoughts are welcome.


2 years ago
I didn't know about the concessions Ben had to make especially the one about not being able to have his kids take it over.

I do know that the planning regulations have changed relatively recently and they were simplified to about 50 pages from over a 1000. The 3 main parts they want to see in the plan are economy, community and ecology. This has made me more hopeful but its really tough to get information since there have been so few people that have or want to live like this. I don't know what the UKs long term plan is about affordable housing since from what i can see getting about 3-4 acres with a house on it is around £300-£350k.

Once i have read the rural planning handbook, i will post a little bit about it and say how useful it is.
Your other suggestion about talking to someone in the council is a good one.

The other consideration would be, even if you had the bottle to fight the planning authorities for 5-10 years doesn't mean its a good use of time. I will also consider wales and if that time/money would actually be better spent doing something productive. Also I spoke with some people in Kent and they said one thing that is missing about the area is a lack of people with a common outlook. At least in wales the community is likely more sympathetic to the cause.
2 years ago
Thanks for the reply, I am not easily deterred.
My understanding so far is that you cannot change the use of agricultural land but that you can live on it if you can show you are using it for agricultural use that requires people living there (see ben law). This is basically what i am trying to find out by reading the rural planning hand book.
I had not thought about all the issues with the building regs but this could make things expensive if I am expected to put all the utilities in.
I am also wondering what it would be like to live close by to an area of agricultural land and to work it that way. Given that zoning is central to permaculture, having everything in zone 5 doesn't make that much sense to me.
2 years ago
If tilling is so bad for soil life, then what is the consensus for using pigs and chickens to till areas before growing?
Do they till differently to a rotovator? Is it ok since they are manuring the soil? Is it really a question of animal pressure and not having animals so densely?
I like the idea of both having pigs but also i like the idea of no till so was wondering what your opinions are?
2 years ago
so i found some information out. There is a book called the Rural planning handbook that can be found here.
the search for "Rural Planning Handbook for Low Impact Developers"

I have ordered it but haven't read it but it in short its a set of information of people who have developed raw land in the UK and how they managed to traverse the planning guidelines.
In case any one else is trying to do this it might also be worth your time.
2 years ago
Hello permies,

I looking at getting started in the UK and owning some land. The ownership part is mainly due to the idea that permaculture is "giving a gift to your future self" and I would like to be around to benefit from the efforts made.
I'm also millennial; I have a decent freelance job (so mobile) but it means I don't have that much capital and it is expensive for me to get a mortgage. I am also really not comfortable with borrowing that much money and it seems to defeat the aim if i have to work full time to pay off the mortgage.
I looked at buying raw land which is cheap, however it looks like its really difficult to build on it. Maybe this is a way to do it by living in a village and buying agricultural land somewhere else but it seems to me that will make managing the land a lot more difficult.
I have looked at a few communities on sites like but places that you can buy into require between 200k-350k GBP which still seems like a lot to me and i still don't fully understand the risks of buying into a community like that.
I was wondering if anyone has stories of how they got started (UK specific) or had some lateral thinking powers to get around the issue of needing a nest egg.
2 years ago
I recently started my journey in permaculture and I'm already finding the process a little overwhelming. I am studying an online PDC so as to at least have a basic understanding of the principals with a view to buying some land and setting up my own permaculture system.

The question i have to people is how to even get started. I have been looking at plots of land around spain/portugal or southern france and for the budget (EUR 50-100k) I have it seems that undeveloped land or one with a ruin is all i am going to be able to afford. Reading around the internet it seems that most rural land is cheap for a reason and getting planning permission to build on it is really difficult and can be a really expensive mine field. Naively i thought the hard part would be designing a system however it seems that getting planning permission to develop on your own land seems to be the harder part.

My original plan was to purchase a plot and to plant trees and do the earth works while i can get some money together to build a house. This seems to be a really risky way to do it since there is the risk that after purchasing the land you wont be allowed to live on it. It also seems that a lot of places are against eco housing since its not in keeping with local architecture. What is the best order to do things when factoring legal red tape and planning permission? Does anyone have any advice for how to scout land in these areas.

thanks in advance
2 years ago