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We began to steward the land in 2010, and this was when the land had its chance to really get stuck into regenerating itself, and we’ve been playing our ecological role since then, guided principally by the land itself, as well as Permaculture, Regenerative Design, Living Systems Thinking and decades of practical experience in growing food and alternative living.


Ro Dama consists of where the Dowr Konnor has cut a steep side into the valley, which had eroded from centuries of being deforested, and a loamy island bounded by the Dowr Konnor and a mining leat where nutrients from the slope and upstream have been deposited during that time. Along the river and floodplain Goat Willow has found its home, creating magical glades.

Plen an Gwari

Many discarded plastic and metal motorbike pieces were left as well as a contaminated quarry and slag heap and the first project here was to remove much of the debris left by the previous use of the land. Over several years the at least 200-year-old ridge that formed the edge of the quarry was enhanced and transformed into a traditional Cornish Plen An Gwari or amphitheatre, which is used regularly as a performance space for a wide range of culture-enhancing and multimedia creative arts performances. The soil here was regenerated with thick blanket of topsoil applied with the aim to create a sub-tropical terraced garden to enclose the space. The debris has largely been re-used in hedging and to create micro-climates.

Vegetable Growing

Food Growing is principally taking place in two polytunnels, a fruit cage and a number of outside beds. We’re soon to be raising a third polytunnel and expanding our outdoor growing area.

Permaculture is about fulfilling our ecological role while working in harmony with existing natural habitats and ecosystems. In maintaining the integrity of the soil’s surface, underground ecosystems are undisrupted and so left as nature intended. No chemical additives such as herbicides and pesticides are used in the gardens at Ro Dama Farm. Companion planting, composting and natural organic fertilizers are used to create a sustainable, carbon-neutral approach to growing food. Older indigenous strains, heritage and commercially unavailable varieties of fruit and vegetables have been planted to encourage the proliferation of tasty and healthy produce that can be shared with local people in food poverty.

We are aiming for food sovereignty on site, meaning that we have power over our own food sources, and to share the abundance with the community.


While we grow food in a few areas we take responsibility for, the reality is that Ro Dama is growing food everywhere for us. Treasures such as Pennywort, Landcress, Common Sorrel, Black Mustard, Nettles, Plantain, Yarrow, Wild Garlic, Gorse Flowers and more are to be found in our hedgerows. We regularly support guided walks with an experienced Forager around the land.

Trees & Forest Garden

We are assisting the re-forestation and regeneration of Ro Dama by planting trees, over 300 alone in 2023.

Our fruit orchard was established in 2011, consisting of apple, pear and cherry, which is now ready for underplanting with sub-canopy and shrub layers to transform it into an edible food forest.

Coppicing is the practice of cutting trees and shrubs to ground level, promoting vigorous re-growth and a sustainable supply of timber for future generations. Cutting an established tree down to it’s base instigates the fresh growth of many smaller shoots, which quickly grow upwards towards the sky. We have various willow coppicing areas and intend to supply basket weavers and other such artisans with our coppiced willow, encouraging growth in the local craft industry. Workshops will be held on-site to ensure such skills are passed on for future generations.

Working in partnership with Director Willo has become an Oak Guardian, taking responsibility for sapling care and distribution of the young Common English oaks.


Wildlife here at Ro Dama is diverse and abundant, and we are regularly visited by wild deer, foxes, badgers, rabbits, buzzards, herons, trout, frogs and all manner of other indigenous species.

Compost & Biochar

We have been making our own compost using the abundant bracken and also green matter on-site and using it to regenerate the degraded soils on the slope. Our polytunnels now have several inches of quality growing soil thanks to Duncan’s work.

We have recently begun to make biochar here at Ro Dama Farm. Adding biochar to our soils will help to improve soil health and hopefully, in time, better crop yields.

‘Biochar’ is a catch-all term describing any organic material that has been carbonised under high temperatures (300-1000°C), in the presence of little, or no oxygen. This process (called ‘pyrolysis’) releases bio-oils plus gases and leaves a solid residue of at least 80% elemental carbon which is termed biochar.
Virtually any organic material can be pyrolysed to make biochar. Different biochar feedstocks result in biochar with different properties, which is why it is important to know what material your biochar has been made from. Examples include soft plant tissue, woody materials, and manures. The property all of these biochars share is that they are carbon rich and don’t readily decompose.

The idea of using biochar in soils was born from observing the man-made ‘Terra Preta’ soils of the Amazon. The fertility of the poor, acid soils in this region is thought to have been improved through addition of charred organic material by the area’s indigenous inhabitants: helping to sustain population expansion across the Amazon region.
Biochar retains much of the open capillary structure from the original wood, including xylem vessels. In soil these channels continue to function as conduits for air, water, nutrients and biology.