Karuna

LAND Region: 
EnglandWest Midlands
LAND Project Type: 
LAND Centre

Karuna is a unique inspirational educational project. demonstrating the benefits of diversity, Observation, food growing, celebration, creativity, Low impact living, renewable energy ‘a sense of place’ and much more.

Karuna is a unique Inspirational educational project. Demonstrating how we can all benefit from supporting nature through the application of diversity.
Diversity is our safety net! Our approach is that it is better to work with nature than against it.

It must be said that we have immersed ourselves into a Permaculture way of life intrinsically. It is a way of life for us that we totally believe in and are committed to.

We can observe, grow and strengthen ourselves through it. There is an emphasis on education, celebration, contemplation, simplicity, creativity, sharing and supporting life Here/Now through positive activity and change.

This is not philosophy but practice, direct experience from the application of agro-forestry and Permaculture techniques both familiar and experimental.
In four years Karuna has completely changed from being merely overgrazed fields to an example of how quickly nature can support us in alternative, diverse ways.

It is a truly sustainable model offering visitors and participants the opportunity to really experience for themselves a sense of place and holistically recognise how we can apply solutions to the environmental problems in our world today.

The Transformation of Karuna started by establishing unusually diverse woodlands in 2006.

To date 7,000 trees have been planted, creating micro climates, wind barriers, enhancing the visual beauty of the area and supporting Shropshire’s dwindling wildlife by creating a nature reserve.

There is an emphasis on growing food from Trees. 300 fruit trees have been planted throughout the site, some orchards others mixed in around the woodlands perimeters others amid the forest garden structures that are under development. Additional fruit trees will be planted each year. There is an apple tree nursery with hundreds of fruit trees ready to plant around the site.

A horticultural area with large mother herb garden and perennials sits at the centre of the project. The project aims to sell surplus organic food products in the near future at the local farmers market.

Educational courses include forest gardening, Permaculture introduction, Low impact living, Scything, Basket making. As well as interested adult group visits (plant, tree and wildlife enthusiasts), we also receive groups of school children who come to experience the practical side of food growing and foraging for wild foods that abound in the ancient hedgerows.

Celebration takes place in the form of Dancing and acoustic music as well as apple day where we make juice and cider.

A large water holding (Basho’s pond) has been created at the site. This supports the development of micro climates and enhances biodiversity. Close by the ducks house is located amid an orchard where the ducks have easy access to the waters edge and daily attend to pest control around the base of the fruit and nut trees.

A good example of a pole barn was built in 2007 for hey and straw as well as fruit and vegetable storage.

Our energy, all generated on site comes from wind and sun. We recycle rainwater as much as possible and recycle our own waste through compost loos which we later use as a fertiliser at the base of the productive fruit/nut trees.

We wish to continue developing the site and remain open to the ideas of others for ways in which we can achieve this in the best possible way.

Member Project known date: 
Friday, 13 January, 2012
Number of people text: 
Number of visitors/volunteers can accommodate: 25. Group visit scheme: yes.
Contact Name: 
Janta and Merav Wheelhouse
Telephone number: 
01694 - 751374
All Permaculture projects develop differently according to the individuals approach and experience , exposure, altitude, lay of the land , what exists at the site etc. We like to go with the flow remaining open and responding to the inspiration and lessons that nature offers to us. Living in Wild West Wales for many years has taught us a thing or two about that. Neither of us posses the ability to define in words the intuitive relationship we have with nature and particularly this area of land. But you can be sure that overall the experiments and developments at Karuna are a direct result of our ‘resonance’ with its special energy. There is some part of us that understands. There is a profound resonance like the vibration of two strings in perfect harmony, all we understand for certain is that somehow two separate strings are magically bound together into a sudden, unexpected unity and they are bound by resonance. One string is us, the other is ? Please note this is not newage waffle, it really is beautifully miraculous ,it ‘s also abstract to some ,so better we put that particular dimension of what we DO aside. We thought it deserves at least to be mentioned as others also appreciate and understand about working in this way. The project’s design has been an evolving, gradual process over the years, through constant observation we learn of different needs and solutions. The key elements of observation, boundaries, resources, evaluation, design, implementation and maintenance, as well as zoning and sector planning are all part of the projects makings. The first stage of design was for the woodlands, this included the form & location as well as species selection. The woodlands were designed to act as an invaluable windbreak and to create micro climates suitable for food growing in this altitude of 800-900 feet, the species were selected to provide material for coppicing, timber, craft materials, fuel, fruits & nuts as well as wildlife & biodiversity nitrogen fixing value. The design includes plenty of edges, where smaller sun loving fruiting trees & bushes are located. In the second stage we decided the best locations for creating edible landscapes, the orchards and fruit trees, some of those are the baseline for forest garden areas, many fruit trees were planted on the sunny edge of the woodlands (particularly in Sanctuary field).See Land management map. Integrated pest management is applied through duck husbandry. With special Zoning in mind Sanctuary field is zone 1 & 2 ( zone 0 is our home/caravan), large herb garden, annual & perennial vegetables, forest gardens, orchards, ducks while Karuna field and Try field are zone 3, 4 & 5, there is a field-scale horticulture area in Karuna field and more orchards in addition to the woodlands, the rides and open grass areas are cut once a year & used for mulching. Because Karuna is quite a large area (18 acres) it is only properly understood through a visit to the site.
Project start date: 
July, 2005
Karuna Picklescott
Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6NT
United Kingdom
Shropshire GB