Considering the future

Homes and Retreats
daylen
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Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Considering the future

Post by daylen » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:49 am

In a few years time, we're planning on leaving the urban life behind for something much more rural.

Our plans are to have a smallholding and grow as much of our own food as possible but I'm aware that we're never going to be fully self reliant and want to be part of a small community.

I've found the initial search a little overwhelming to be honest, primarily as I'm not sure how much to take into account the predicted effects of climate change.

Many reports suggest that the coming decade will see increasing strain on water and land resources - more development and people coupled with hotter, drier summers. There's the risk of coastal erosion and increased flooding too.

If you were in this position, what considerations would you make, and where would your ideal smallholding be?

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diamond lil
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Location: Scottish hills

Re: Considering the future

Post by diamond lil » Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:37 pm

Not an answer to your question daylen, but when you think that for centuries people have lived off the land up here in the cold barren wastes of Scotland and thrived, then anything is possible. There is always something that will grow, uness you live above the arctic circle. And even up there they are using polytunnels in the short summer... :mrgreen:

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Arwen Thebard
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Re: Considering the future

Post by Arwen Thebard » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:56 pm

I agree with the previous post. As things warm up everywhere the areas previously considered "harsher" environments are likely to become very much more productive and attractive. We are in a similar situation to yourselves by the sound of it, although a few years ahead maybe, and we have been looking at Scotland, Yorkshire and Wales, where you can still find smallholdings within a reasonable budget, but for how much longer? Joining an existing small community or trying to start one yourselves? Both take a lot of time and effort.
Arwen The Bard

"What did you learn today?"

daylen
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Considering the future

Post by daylen » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:01 pm

Thanks Lil. I think that is an answer to my question, in a way. As you say, people live and can thrive pretty much anywhere and have done for millennia.

The issue is probably to do with how you want to live. For example, what's the growing season like say in the Highlands? Would you need to focus on farming livestock or is it easy enough to grow fruit and veg for a family?

I'd like to have a few animals but not masses of them. I would very much like to grow a good amount of fruit and veg as that's what I have more experience with.

daylen
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 12:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Considering the future

Post by daylen » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:12 pm

Thanks Arwen. We're also looking in places such as Devon. We have family there and know the area reasonably well but it is more expensive. Also a number of places we know there have experienced a lot of flooding in recent years as well as social issues with rising unemployment and the like.

Budget hopefully won't be too much of an issue (within reason). We've been extremely fortunate in that our property at the moment is worth a lot more than we paid just due to its location.

We'd be looking to be in a village or on the outskirts of a small town.

I hadn't really considered Wales as (I'm ashamed to admit) I've actually never even been there!

jansman
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Re: Considering the future

Post by jansman » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:41 pm

Life is short. Do it, if you can. We spent 6 months in Spain and loved it... that was 2016, and Br#### happened ! That left many uncertainties. But I digress.

Animals: laying poultry are VERY productive, for minimal effort. Rabbits are the same. I keep both. When I had my acre of rented ground, I kept goats. They are the next step up. All worth a look.
In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost.

Arzosah
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Re: Considering the future

Post by Arzosah » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:57 pm

It's a great ambition, daylen, and certainly it's an achievable one. People can thrive anywhere, including the far north, but it takes more effort there, thats all.

If I was looking at the effects of climate change on where I should do it, I'd think of:
- environmental maps, not only for a rise in the sea level, but also for storm damage - the Somerset levels would be out. Anywhere less than 50 feet above sea level would be out, actually - I'd be thinking of what its worth in 50 years time would my kids use it, that sort of thing. I know 50 feet sounds alarmist, but sea level rise plus intensifying storms puts that as having a good safety margin.

- And how badly does the coast erode? In Lancashire, coastal sea dunes are retreating and covered up a WWII barracks. The rubble that formed the foundation of the barracks is now emerging on the seaward side of the dunes: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/formby ... the-rubble

- You mention wanting to be part of a small community. How big are the villages and towns, how many shops are there? You might assess whether they've got "your type" of people by looking at how big the local Smallholding Association is, or Young Farmers, or Transition Towns

- house prices are crucial, as Arwen points out. An online friend bought a stone cottage with 11 acres on an ordinary salary and a good deposit. Yorkshire. Down here in Sussex/ Surrey/ Kent that would get you a small new build detached house, with not much more than a courtyard garden. "House" prices includes the price of land per acre, of course! I know of several people who bought agricultural land to stable their horse on, and waited a few years to be able to buy a smallholding nearby. Some are still waiting, I think, though I may have lost touch because they stopped going for it.

Situated where the UK is, there'll always be something that can grow. Rainfall patterns might be much more important in the future: the north and west of the UK always get more rain.

Where are your own roots, and your partner's, will that have a bearing?

Go for it!
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diamond lil
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Re: Considering the future

Post by diamond lil » Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:09 pm

Scotland has less pollution and less people/more space :mrgreen:
Berries grow well here, so do all the traditional veggies and as Jansman says anybody can have hens & ducks for eggs and a goat for milk, etc.

Arzosah
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Re: Considering the future

Post by Arzosah » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:26 pm

diamond lil wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:09 pm
Scotland has less pollution and less people/more space :mrgreen:
I knew. I just knew. My fingers were typing one thing, and my brain was saying another, and my fingers won ... I wonder why? Disengagement of brain cells could be the reason for a lot of stuff we see around us right now :? :shock:
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Arzosah
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Re: Considering the future

Post by Arzosah » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:12 am

daylen, I was thinking of you this morning (eek!, I hear you saying). I watched the Sunday morning repeat of Countryfile, all about small farming businesses, mostly in Oxfordshire. Not sure if you want to get into a business as well as a smallholding, but one of them mentioned the Earth Trust https://earthtrust.org.uk/farm-step/

I couldn't quite work out the terms at first, but they're basically offering good terms on tenancy agreements. Could give you some great ideas for income production and skills you need to gain before you take the big step :)
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There are some Amazon affiliate links in this blog

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