Henbant, for people, place and planet*

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Matt's Permaculture Diploma

I would like Henbant to be something really special and I was a bit worried that it could become just another smallholding, for this reason and many more I'm studying for a my Permaculture Diploma (you can read more about this on the Permaculture Networks website).

I think doing this will force me into a more structured way of thinking about what we do here and how we do it. I'm studying with an inspirational tutor, Chris Dixon.

Through my diploma I need to do three designs, these are going to be.. (this is what I need to decide)


Permaculture diploma timeline



Through observation of natural systems permaculture shows us how to design places, spaces and communities for 7 billion people to live on the planet sustainably! Applying the ethics and principles results in reduced carbon footprints and positive impacts on the earth and it's inhabitants.

Central to permaculture are three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Here are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
    By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
    By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
    Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
    We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
    Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
    By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
    By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
    By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
    Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
    Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
    The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
    We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.

Applying Permaculture at Henbant

We want to use Permaculture design methods and principles in much of what we do here at Henbant,



There is a great thing called the LAND network which has had funding in England to support the learning and sharing of ideas for permaculture and land based projects, we are hopefully about to get the same thing in Wales read more about the land project here

Permaculture and smallholding tour of North Wales

Since settling here we have found an abundance of inspirational Smallholdings, Permaculture or sustainable living projects and peoples around us, its taken me a while to find them all and we are now going around to visit as many of them as we can so we will share what we've have found (as soon as I get chance).. From this we would love to set up a network so people will find it easier to meet, learn and share, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO OFFER OR ARE DOING SIMILAR THINGS IN NORTH WEST WALES. Perhaps we can set up a North West Wales smallholders group? A few of those we have found we have added to our links page.



Permaculture Ethics and Design Principles

Nearly Wild Camping

bell tent with sunset at henbant wild camping

We've joined forces with a brilliant welsh government initiative to encourage people to camp off the beaten pitch

Read more Camping at Henbant here

Courses at Henbant

We want to start teaching all the things we believe in here next year, we have space for forest schools to wool crafts to organic gardening

please get in touch if you can help


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Live simply so others may simply live

Henbant Bach is a seabear project. Henbant Bach Farm, Tain Lon, Clynnogfawr, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL54 5DF. 01286 660761