Located in Somerset just outside the village of Chiselborough near Crewkerne, Little Brympton Ecological Micro-Farm is the home of Tasha and Patch Tucker and their young daughter, Lily. The farmhouse is a wooden structure with one room and small mezzanine. Like Five Penny Farm its completely off grid – solar electricity installed by Patch, spring water from the tap and composting dealing with the outside loo. It sits within 3 acres of land which are planted with a hedonistic mix of trees, shrubs and large perennials. It is the brainchild of Albert Holman who lived there for thirty years during which time he ran a market garden with his wife Anna and sold flowers. Sadly recent years have seen Albert’s health declining and he was finally forced to give up Little Brympton in 2014. He and his family have chosen Tasha and Patch (along with Lily!) to be tenants of the land to continue and build upon his legacy. They met when Albert supplied the wild flowers for their wedding.
Tasha, Patch and Lily had moved in only a few months before I visited, but were already looking very much at home. This despite sadly finding that legally they needed to apply for planning permission to live there for Albert’s permission – yes it was legal – was specifically for him. Such is planning law that when you build a low impact living space the system basically doesn’t trust you and whilst it may let you live there, the strings are pulled tight. Says it all!!!!
Despite planning rejection hanging as a possibility over their heads Tasha and Patch were busy on developing Little Brympton. After a chat and a cup of tea, with Lilly at nursery, Tasha was soon hacking away the brambles and undergrowth on the site to reveal more interesting plants beneath and give them room to flourish. She was pretty adept – if not lethal. I went close for the photographs but not to close!!
Lunchtime saw Lilly return along with a friend of the family from Yeovil. After a convivial lunch to which we all contributed, everyone went outside again to plant winter purslane, recently obtained for the woodland of Tinker’s Bubble…..from where Tasha and Patch had moved (and about which much later when I visit). The purslane would be producing salad leaves by spring and from thereon throughout the year. The planting was irregular and spread about the place as Tasha and Patch’s vision is of creating a cultivated forest garden. They explained how they are probably more foragers than growers and the plan therefore one of creating a highly prpd8uctive albeit cultivated foraging space.
We only moved back inside as winter darkness fell, whereupon the house became converted into a wicker fence making factory using the willow and other wood from the garden. As twilight dimmed the room, Lily danced a mystical, magical weave around the half light and so ended one of the most memorable days of my life. A day experiencing and celebrating true wealth, a wealth borne out of holistic well being rather than finance. Thank you, everyone.
For more information see Little Brympton Ecological Micro-Farm
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