Creative Beings

We are delighted to be taking part in Agroforestry Open Weekend 2024

Our site here in Devon is a five acre field that has a stream on one side in a steep goyle and ancient hedging on two sides. We have owned the land for 6 years and our intention is to grow edibles in a number of regenerative experiments (including an acre of agroforestry, an acre of newly planted broad-leaf wood & a polytunnel) adopting sustainable permaculture principles as much as we can. We also run a social enterprise that is concerned with ‘Creative practices in the natural world to enhance wellbeing’ (see Although small, we continue to expand the number of experiments in this very diverse space.

Our agroforestry

We began planting the canopy of our agroforest in the winter of 2018 and have continued to plant, mulch and weed since then. We put down weed-control membrane for 6-12 months to kill off all vegetation, as we do not use chemicals. During that time we planted Italian Alder, Broom, Autumn Olive through the membrane – to give them a start. We also created a pond, which has been visited by frogs, newts, toads, dragonfly, diving beetles, ducks, ramshorn smails – it has a rich flora and fauna. At this point in time (Spring 2024), the Agroforest is now almost planted with the canopy layer. We have companion planted heavy cropping fruit and nut trees within a few metres of the Italian Alder on the SW side. There are many perennial shrubs, climbers and herbs within the space and we are now experimenting with which herbaceous layers will succession grow as the space turns from being completely open to the elements to being partially shaded. The purpose of our agroforest is predominantly foraged edibles for us and to increase biodiversity within the ecosystem. However, we also have more ‘traditional veg beds’ within the agroforest and grow veggies alongside flowers and perennials. The veg seem to do better than our veg that is grown within ‘normal raised beds’. We have a bee hive next to the agroforest and one of our tasks this year is to continue to plant flowering spp. that flower early and late in the cycle. Our agroforest is also a space for creative inspiration and we always use the space to meditate, sketch, do yoga during our courses…… this seems to work incredibly well and also enables ‘soft education’ around biodiversity / regenerative practice / agroforestry and building community within our geographic place. Within these first 4-5 years, we have noticed the following positive impact on the land: a) increased biodiversity in terms of plants, insects, birds and small furries! b) a consequent increase in pockets of more robust micro-ecosystems e.g. arrival of thousands of ladybird larvae just as the apple trees were becoming swamped with aphids – fabulous viewing! c) increased humidity within the agroforest space compared with our field space – very limited watering required during the drought of summer 2022. The woodchip mulch is working incredibly well in suppressing weeds and conserving water.

Here are some photos of what we do:

Summer 2023 – agroforest & foraging tour. Pond in foreground
Image shows mulched area awaiting further planting of herbaceous layer. Also shows annual veg growing alongside nasturtiums. Canopy Italian Alder, Lime and Birch can be seen. Broom also acts as a nitrogen fixer.
Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata) on the fence line. Note deer and rabbit proof.
The table groaning with goodies after one of our Foraging & Preserving weekends – lots of fun and another way to engage people
This area has been planted for 3 years now. You can see the canopy Italian Alder again, a Quince tree & Strawberry tree as ‘mid-size’. Soft fruits such as Jostaberry, logan berry, rhubarb, raspberries are all doing well and as ground cover here, we have wild strawberry and also sorrel and dandelion!
Squash, pumpkins and potatoes grow really well just planted through the woodchip mulch. The potatoes we are planting to eat – however, they also do a great job as ‘pioneer crop’ as they break up the soil for future veg beds (we are on Devon clay).
how to find us

You will find us at Creative Beings CIC, The Old Rectory, Awliscombe. Devon. EX14 3PJ

agroforestry open weekend 2024

Over Agroforestry Open Weekend 2024 we will be open on Sunday 19th May from 10.00 – 17.00

please don’t just turn up/feel free to just turn up

Feel free to just turn up on the day!


We’ll have tea / coffee and biscuits


There are two large laybys right next to our house – please park here unless you have mobility issues. The walk to the agroforest is along a stream path which is slightly uneven and across a field.


Whether people can bring dogs (a common question)]

Dogs are welcome on leads, please pick up after your dog

disability access

The agroforest is in a field so not suitable for wheelchair users or those with significant mobility issues. However, we have a lovely studio to sit in if one of you wants to visit the agroforest and one of you wants to chill here! If the weather is fine and the ground dry, we have on occasion driven people with mobility issues right to the agroforest – including my 90 year old mum!

more information?

Sue Holland phone: 01404 47322

website (which also has a button to instgram)