Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design

A permaculture journey

This website documents my journey through the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, and the designs I am undertaking. They all relate in some way to the 6.5 acre permaculture smallholding in County Down, where I live and work with my wife Claire and daughter Lyra. Here we grow our own food and fuel, make our own energy and take responsibility for our waste and water usage. We share our knowledge about our journey and our learning by offering courses, opening the farm to visitors, hosting volunteers from across the world and by offering accommodation.

Visitors can stay and experience what it is to live off-grid, and with a low environmental footprint. The farm has made numerous appearances on national tv in both the UK and Ireland and is currently the only demonstration project of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Now in my sixth year at Lackan, I previously worked for a decade as a horse trainer before pursuing a career in design. For the last 10 years I have lived and worked on permaculture farms,  grown food, built my own home, designed and built all the systems on the farm, and offer consultancy to others in areas as diverse as renewable energy, composting toilet systems, heating systems and permaculture design.

This site will function not only as my diploma portfolio but also as a diary and working plans for several live projects that will be implemented during the course of my diploma, which I perhaps optimistically aim to complete in two years. Initially I hope to take stock of the current state of Lackan Cottage Farm, survey, assess and plan the way forward, and the prospect of undertaking the next stage of development here is an exciting one indeed.







Their 'hobbit house' was the thing that got me started on my journey over a decade ago, and I was fortunate enough to meet and work with this amazing couple at Lammas Eco village in Pembrokeshire.

Simon & Jasmine Dale

Builders and permaculture designers, Beingsomewhere.net

Suzie has taught me a great deal, not only through the PDC that I completed at Dulra, but through following her journey as she set up and established Carraig Dulra Permaculture Farm.

Suzie Cahn

Permaculture teacher, Carraig Dulra

Charles' no nonsense approach to no dig growing has transformed the way I look at producing food, and his deep understanding of permaculture has been an inspiration. He was also kind enough to support our crowdfunding back in 2013.

Charles Dowding

Organic no dig grower, Homeacres


Progress in summer 2019

So summer 2019 has come around very quickly and here we are at the midsummer solstice. Although my schedule is behind, I am making progress. We grazed the new forest garden field right down with the horses, and then seeded the areas that are due to remain as tracks or...

LAND centre pioneers

We're really pleased to have become the first Permaculture LAND centre in Northern Ireland. There are currently LAND networks in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Scotland, England and Wales. The LAND networks have been established to provide practical examples of land based...

A LAND Centre for Northern Ireland

The Learning And Network Demonstration network is comprised of permaculture demonstration sites, set up to show permaculture in a safe, accessible and inspiring way. Currently England, Scotland and Wales have LAND sites,  but as Northern Ireland has traditionally been part of Permaculture Ireland, we don’t have any (yet). What we decided was that there seems no reason that we couldn’t have a LAND site under the auspices of Permaculture UK (as we’re part of the UK), and then use it as a starting point to roll out similar LAND sites (IreLAND, anyone?) into the rest of the island of Ireland.

Lackan Road, 79 Lackan Road, Ballyroney. BT32 5HR

+44(0)28 4065 0273