Permaculture design course

3 March - 10 June 2018 - FULLY BOOKED
12 weekend days, including a residential weekend

This course looks at how we can design resilient, abundant human 'ecosystems'; working collaboratively with one another to care for the planet, each other and ourselves.

(Can't make these dates? Click here if you would like us to email you when future courses are scheduled.)

Course details

Our Permaculture design course (Building sustainable communities) is a hands-on course where we learn both indoors and outdoors. It includes visits to:

  • Ben Law's working woodland
  • Permaculture, organic and forest gardens

  • Community sustainability initiatives
  • Community growing projects
  • Green Architecture Day, 10 March 2018 

Course tutors include Bryn Thomas, Chloe Anthony, Stephan Gehrels, Daniel Holloway and Tracy Hind.

Entrance requirements

Prior to attending our Permaculture design course (Building sustainable communities), you'll need to have completed an introduction to permaculture course, either Brighton Permaculture Trust's 2-day Introduction to Permaculture course or an equivalent course elsewhere. Please do not reserve a place unless you have attended or have booked a place on an introduction to permaculture course that runs before the start of the course. This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over.

Course schedule

The Mar-Jun 2018 course will be held on the following days:

Saturday 3  March  2018

Saturday 10 March - Green Architecture Day 2018

Sunday 18 March 2018 

Saturday 24 March 2018

Saturday 14 April 2018

Saturday 28 April 2018

Saturday 5 May 2018

Sunday 6 May 2018

Saturday 19 - Sunday 20 May 2018 (residential weekend)

Saturday 2 June 2018

Saturday 9 June 2018

Sunday 10 June 2018

Most days will run from 10am to 5pm. We ask that you aim to arrive at 9.30-9.45am for a prompt start and allow 30 mins flexibility at the end. Venues will vary, so you need to leave time for travelling. Everyone is encouraged to organise lift-sharing arrangements.

Click here for details of local accommodation and to find out about Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture design is about creating practical ecological strategies for land, water, buildings, people and communities. It involves developing systems that are resilient and contribute to environmental, social and personal well-being, and is based on a philosophy of cooperation with nature.

The word permaculture is derived from permanent agriculture and permanent culture, but offers a perspective on all aspects of building a sustainable future, including changing your life for the better. Permaculture encourages us to use our individual skills, knowledge and interests, whilst drawing on science, traditional wisdom and our innate ability to observe and learn from the world around us. Whether your interest is gardening, farming, planning, building homes, community work, economic regeneration, business or green lifestyles, the application of permaculture principles empowers you to make a positive contribution towards a sustainable future.

Who is the course for?

The course is for anyone who is concerned with the environmental and social challenges around them and wants to develop positive solutions. Whereas some permaculture courses are intensive, this one is spread over several months to enable people to integrate permaculture design into many areas of their lives, including food growing, home renovation and livelihoods.

What the Permaculture design course covers

The course enables participants to integrate a self-reliant, pragmatic, ecological approach to work, life, gardens, homes and communities. This is valuable for anyone wishing to add a permaculture perspective to their existing skills, and to community workers, teachers, architects, planners, landscapers, foresters, food growers, gardeners, designers, agriculturists and conservationists.

The sessions cover topics including:

  • Ethics and principles of Permaculture

  • Design process and methodology

  • Soil management and conservation

  • Trees and woodland management
  • Cultivated ecology: gardens and farms

  • Community development and organisation

  • Building effective learning groups

  • Real wealth, money and sustainable exchange

  • Urban challenges and urban permaculture
  • Energy conservation and renewable energy

On this course we create a participatory and diverse learning environment. The emphasis is on 'action learning', learning by doing and reflecting on our activities. We will be working individually, in small and large groups, engaging in talks with experts and doing our own practice designs. We will also be outside observing nature and doing practical activities. You are encouraged to further your learning through home study (see below), which can include further reading, personal reflection, and application of what's being learned in practice. Participants come to understand how they learn, and the group members support each other during the course.

You will work on a major design activity in a group with support and feedback from the tutor team – an opportunity for you to apply and integrate the things you have learned throughout the course.

Useful resources are highlighted throughout the course. During the course you'll be offered the opportunity to order permaculture-related books at a discount, as well as low-cost membership of the Permaculture Association (or an extension to your existing membership, if you're already a member).


The course takes place in various locations in and around Brighton and Sussex in the south east of England.

We help facilitate lift sharing.

We are sorry that, due to nature of the venues and outdoor locations we visit, our course is not fully disability accessible. Please contact us if you have a disability that you think may affect your ability to attend so we can discuss how your needs might be accommodated.


The course follows the 72-hour international Permaculture Design Course syllabus and so qualifies participants for the Permaculture Design Course completion certificate awarded by the Permaculture Association (Britain). This has to be gained before you can use the word 'permaculture' in part of your work as a professional or with the public, such as being a gardener, a teacher, a designer, giving talks about permaculture, etc.

To be awarded the certificate, you must attend a minimum of 10 days of the course and complete the design workshop (the final weekend of the course). Please don't register if you cannot meet this requirement.

Home study during and after the course

We sometimes expect people to carry out a little preparation for course days. This might be watching a video, collecting a soil sample, or doing some survey or observation activity. We set tasks that encourage thinking about your life and how the learning on the course applies to it. This is about integration with, rather than a separation from, the activities of everyday life. We also provide reading and links to online resources which are then discussed in group sessions.

What can the Permaculture design course lead on to?

Once you've gained the Permaculture Design Certificate you’ll be able to start using permaculture design in your life and work. You will be invited to join Brighton Permaculture Trust's network of volunteers and encouraged to get involved in Brighton Permaculture Trust activities and those of other related networks. Students often start their own projects and invite course-mates to get involved in those. To further your learning or professional development you could go on to work towards a Diploma in Permaculture Design, a self-directed action learning process of at least two years.

You could also choose to become an apprentice permaculture teacher, or to take any of the wide range of more specialist permaculture courses now being offered throughout the UK and beyond for people with a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Course tutors and speakers

Bryn Thomas, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture tutor and designer. Passions include growing fruit, forest gardening, green building and organisational design.

Chloe Anthony, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture tutor and practitioner. Passions include forest gardens, living in community.

Daniel Holloway, Permaculture tutor and designer. Interests include making sustainable systems.

Stephan Gehrels, Dip Perm Des. Permaculture tutor and designer specialising in school and community growing projects. Eco schools project manager.

Tracy Hind, Permaculture tutor and OCN Assessor. Interests include working in groups and community development.

Recommended reading

If you want to do some reading before the course, we recommend these books:


Fees include tuition, certification and refreshments.

  • £895 - Sponsored/organisation rate
  • £895 - Individual income more than 25k/yr
  • £745 - Individual income 18-25k/yr
  • £595 - Individual income less than 18k/yr
  • £445 - Individual, concessionary rate (only 7 places available; check your eligibility)

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 Permaculture design course

Please read this section carefully.

Advance booking is essential. This course usually books up within a few days.

When you complete the booking process, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you haven't received that email within the next few hours, please contact us immediately, as this email contains vital information regarding your booking.

You can pay when you book your place using a credit/debit card or PayPal, or you can tick the 'Pay later' box (in the Event Fee section), which gives you the option to pay by BACS or send us a cheque after you have booked. If you choose to pay later, you will have 7 days to pay for your place. Bookings that remain unpaid on our system for longer than that will expire. You will receive notification of this expiration by email. If you then decide you want to come, you will need to contact us to see if there is a still a place available for you.

If you are booking within two weeks of the course, or the course is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay later. Instead, you will need to pay immediately at the point of booking using a credit card or PayPal.

IMPORTANT: When filling out your booking form, please state where and when you did an Introduction to permaculture course in the Course registration section. We need this information, so please make sure you include it.

IMPORTANT: Payment for the course can be made in full, or a place can be secured by paying a 50% deposit. If a deposit is paid, the remainder is due by Friday 9 February 2018.

Be certain that you understand ALL the information on this page, then:


Mar-Jun 2018 course - FULLY BOOKED

Contact us

For further information or if you have problems with your registration, please contact us.

  • Fran
    "[The residential] was one of my favourite elements of the course. I felt that it came at the right time to bound more as a group. ...The residential fitted perfectly with the theme of community."

    Fran Corney

  • Stephen
    "What a great course! Thoroughly engaging & inspiring tuition along with loads of resources and a really fabulous group. Wish I had done the course years ago. Has opened up a world of possibilities."

    Stephen Williams

  • Abi
    "Amazing, inspiring, really safe and trusted space."

    Abi Denyer-Bewick

  • Ozichi
    "I was amazed by the amount of information covered. There were sessions where I experienced activity overload.... Absolutely value for money, such a full and varied and relevant content. Thank you to all the tutors for this wonderful course."

    Ozichi Brewster

  • Bekki
    "It was great to have a variety of teaching styles and approaches (diversity!). Having a number of tutors and observers there for each session meant there was a great deal of support and interaction available, which was given with a light touch."

    Bekki Moon

  • Irene
    "[I liked] the dynamic sessions, the diversity over the weekends, the variety of tutors, and most of all how they managed to make us all feel comfortable and at ease."

    Irene Soler

  • Kate
    "I have been able to apply what I have learnt on this course to improve my personal life and to inspire others around me. I now have a clearer vision of what I want for the future and how to get there."

    Kate Fox

  • Iza
    "I liked the diversity of tutors and locations. I especially enjoyed the outdoor sessions with Bryn and Stephan and of course the visit to my new hero, Ben Law."

    Iza Kruszewska