[from The Permaculture Plot 4th edition]
Tir Penrhos Isaf
- Date established 1986
- Size 7.2 acres
- Number of occupants: 3. Lyn, Chris and Sam Dixon.
Tir Penrhos Isaf is a seven acre holding in Coed Y Brenin in the Snowdonia National Park. When we bought it, in 1986, it was an over grazed, close cropped sward with little variety under scattered mature trees. Any wet areas were damaged by poaching, dry areas succumbed to drought.
We lived four and a half miles from the land until 1991; not ideal. During that time we began the implementation and evolution of our permaculture design, (specifically, zones 3, 4 and 5). Much of this was fencing and hedging to exclude grazers from some areas. This allowed natural regeneration which was mind-boggling and an excellent teacher, (Permaculture magazine vol.1.2 winter 92/93).
After lengthy but fruitful discussion with the National Park we aquired planning permission to live here in 1991. Obtaining this was not easy; we learnt a great deal about the application procedure and the planners learnt about permaculture design. We were assisted in a friendly and professional manner.
Because our plot is now our home we have been able to devote more time to the place. Feral deer were the main consumers of our first food-growing on the site. We now have a deer-proofed, intensive, perennial, forest garden, sheltering raised annual beds which are more productive and easier to garden each year.
Through our design we are stabilising and building soil, conserving water, encouraging diversity of habitat, thus providing niches for various flora and fauna, growing food and eating it, (them), using sustainable sources of energy, evolving a sustainable system for horses, learning and teaching... We focus our attention on yields that we find easy to sustain and wherever possible trade and exchange locally for what we don't produce ourselves. We are fortunate to be part of a diffuse community of like minded people.
One of our yields is from teaching; this money helps to further implement the design. We hold courses here and receive visitors every summer.