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Campsite idea for trust farmland

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 05, 2012

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A CAMPSITE and eco-friendly farming are among the projects being looked at for the use of Dartington Hall Trust's 880 acres of core farmable land.

The trust has completed its review to see what it can do with the land when its current tenant dairy farmer retires in 2014.

Some of the options include fossil fuel free agriculture or community food production.

Chief executive Vaughan Lindsay said the idea was to look at a mixed approach to low-carbon farming and land use, develop woodland enterprises, horticulture and community supported agriculture while also supporting rural regeneration, training, education and entrepreneurship.

Mr Lindsay said the current dairy farm was not very experimental and what was needed now was to return to what the trust's founders, Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, did which is to pioneer agricultural experimentation.

He said: "It's like going back to our roots."

What is proposed on the estate is a 456-acre mixed farm with low-carbon dairy unit including 48 acres of orchards, support for community growing projects by providing 10 acres of land and a spare 16 acres for community supported agriculture to help local residents grow their own food.

Some 11 acres has been earmarked for horticultural projects, five acres could be turned for community activities while 335 acres could be given to woodland and biomass enterprises.

Six acres have been potentially earmarked for educational and school projects while 62 acres of 'off core estate' could be made available for development and another 14 acres could be turned into a campsite with 100 pitches open from Easter and October.

Mr Lindsay said the various projects were still up for consultation and the trust was looking to link up with the Transition Town movement, community groups and eco agri-entrepreneurs to see the ideas become reality.

He said: "We commissioned this review to find out if we could restore the Dartington experiment to harness the estate, informed by Leonard Elmhirst's vision, as a place which will have influence across the UK and the globe in agriculture and rural regeneration."

He added: "The recommendations from our land use review show how we can bring this vision to life.

"Now we need the partners to make it happen."

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