Greenham Reach Smallholdings

In April 2013 the ELC was granted permission to develop three affordable - and residential - smallholdings for new entrants to ecological agriculture.

Since then three families have moved on and have been developing their livelihoods.

In April 2018 the ELC applied for permanent permission for these three smalholdings - You can read these applications here.


The ELC’s first project is a cluster of three affordable smallholdings for new entrants to ecological agriculture. It is in the parish of Holcombe Rogus, Mid Devon.

A 5 year planning permission was granted for the project on the 18th of April 2013, granting the development of three separate residential agricultural workers’ dwellings, each tied to an agricultural holding of between 5.5 and 8.5 acres. The permission we were granted allowed us to use our 22 acre greenfield site for 3 farm businesses including constructing a barn, track and 3 temporary agricultural workers' dwellings - one dwelling for each smallholding. 

The ELC offered the smallholdings on long-term tenure to three ecological food and herb producers, subject to compliance with a rigorous site Management Plan. Although each smallholding operates as a separate business, the ELC has overall responsibility for compliance with the terms of both the Management Plan and the planning permission (i.e. the planning conditions) and we work with the smallholders to ensure that this is achieved.

Since being granted permission the ELC has: recruited smallholders for the three plots; constructed the shared facilities including a timber frame barn, off grid solar electricity generation, rainwater harvesting system and shared access track; monitored the site over the 5 years; and worked with the planning authority to discharge the planning conditions. The smallholders have sited their temporary accommodation (caravans) and have established their farm businesses.

We are delighted with the project’s progress to date; Greenham Reach serves as an example of small-scale, low-impact land use in the UK, and we look forward to sharing further progress with the wider community over time.

Monitoring at our Smallholdings
Each year the ELC is required to report to the local planning authority (Mid Devon District Council) on progress at the site.

Our fifth annual monitoring report is now available to download. You can also download our firstsecond, third and fourth annual monitoring reports.