Saturday 3 – Sunday 4 July 2021
This two-day course runs from 10.00am to 5pm in various locations around Sussex.
Because of uncertainties relating to Covid-19 we are not not currently taking bookings. Please use the Make an enquiry button at the bottom of this page to ask to join a waiting list.
Learn how to grow fruit, nuts, salads and perennial vegetables as a low maintenance, highly productive garden ecosystem. You will see firsthand how forest gardens work in a number of different settings. Includes 4 site visits.
Watch a video of instructor Bryn Thomas taken at a forest garden visit on the course.
What is a Forest Garden?
“A forest garden is a food-producing garden, based on the model of a natural woodland or forest. It is usually made up of fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes, perennial vegetables and herbs. It can be tailored to fit any space from a tiny back yard to a large rural garden.” [Patrick Whitefield, How to Make a Forest Garden]
Have a virtual look around a forest garden in this fantastic video produced for Permaculture magazine.
What will the Forest gardening course cover?
- Concepts and principles of forest gardening
- Crops, yields and other uses of forest gardens
- Design and selecting trees / plants
- Planting, establishment and maintenance
General gardening and basic fruit growing skills are not covered in depth on this course, but are necessary to practice forest gardening.
Who is the course for?
This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over, and no prior knowledge of the subject is needed. However due to its specialist nature it will be of interest to experienced gardeners and professionals as well as the complete novice. There will also be some practical gardening work, though this will be a small part of the course and students are welcome not to participate in this. We will be outdoors for much of the course and will be visiting four sites, if you have a disability that you think may affect your ability to attend the course, please contact us before booking to discuss how you can be accommodated.
Learning methods and outcomes
The course will start with a brief discussion about what participants want from the course. Much of the course will be spent visiting four sites and looking at how the application of forest gardening can work in different settings. The rest of the course will be taught using a variety of methods; group work, presentations, discussion, and slides. By the end of the course, you will have a basic knowledge of the ideas and principles of forest gardening as well as understanding some of the techniques necessary to put the theory into practice. Participants who complete the entire course will receive a certificate, which will be sent via email after the course.
What does the Forest gardening course lead on to?
This short specialist course is not accredited. It does not lead on directly to any other courses. Previous participants have gone on to attend other courses run by Brighton Permaculture Trust, including permaculture design and fruit related courses.
Bryn Thomas, an experienced tutor/trainer who has been creating and maintaining forest gardens since 1994 including the one the course visits at Seaford.
Venues, visits and accommodation
Day 1: Seaford
Day 2: Brighton
The first day will be held at the home of Brighton Permaculture Trustee Diane Brewster in Seaford, East Sussex. Diane has developed the established forest garden pictured on this page with the assistance of course tutor Bryn Thomas. The venue is less than 2 miles from Seaford railway station and a short walk from Brighton & Hove bus route number 12. See Brighton & Hove City Council’s journey planner.
The second day we will meet at Hertford Junior School, Brighton, to see the forest garden being developed there by Stephan Gehrels. Lastly, we will travel to Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex, Brighton). Here we will demonstrate some practical techniques for the creation and maintenance of forest gardens at Brighton Permaculture Trust’s plot and look at the old orchards.
If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.
Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.
These books are recommended, but it is not necessary for those attending to buy or read them:
Watch a video clip setting the benefits of forest gardening in a global context.
Fees include tuition and refreshments on the second day of the course only.
- £247.50 – Sponsored/organisation rate
- £247.50 – Individual income more than 25k/yr
- £200 – Individual income 18-25k/yr
- £152.50 – Individual income less than 18k/yr
- £84 – Individual, concessionary rate (check eligibility)*
* Concessionary places are limited. If places are not available check back two weeks before the course/event as more may be available then.
We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.
See the cancellations and refunds policy.
Booking the Forest gardening course
Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events are fully booked weeks in advance. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course/event. A place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.
Paying for your place
If you have completed the booking process but you haven’t received a confirmation email from us please contact us to check your booking has gone through.
If you are booking within two weeks of the event, or the event is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay by cheque or BACS. Instead, you will need to pay immediately using a credit/debit card or PayPal.
Because of uncertainties relating to Covid-19 we are not not currently taking bookings. Please use the Make an enquiry button below to ask to join a waiting list.
"I really got a lot out of this and certainly was one of the most inspiring courses I've attended. I'm now developing a forest garden ... together with my volunteers."
"Very friendly atmosphere, open minded people, very inspiring, loads of new useful information, tutors with very rich theoretical and practical knowledge."
"I really liked visiting real examples of forest gardening."
"The course was a delight. I have learned so much and am eager to put some of the ideas into practice."
"It was good to have Bryn and Stephan both contributing, especially when they had different takes on things. They were very generous with their answers to my specific questions."
"Variety of examples. Good mix of theory and practice. Stephan & Bryn are a great double act!"
"Thanks to all involved, it was a great weekend. The interactivity of it, the depth of knowledge and ability to explore topics ad hoc."
"Relaxed but informative, interactive, comprehensive."
"A sociable mix of indoors and outdoors. Seeing different examples and contexts of forest gardens was very instructive."
"A great balance between teaching, looking and practical learning."
"I really appreciated how the teachers worked together and also met everyone's needs. I thought the quality of the course was much higher than I had expected. The experience was of a 'well-oiled machine'. I was very impressed:)"
Thanks to Kim Sweet who took these photos 5 July 2014.