Since I came to this adventure with no previous smallholding knowledge, the obvious first step seemed to be to get some training or practical experience. As there were no friends or relatives in the local area with any similar backgrounds, the best idea seemed to be an internet search.
In the first instance this turned up quite a few possibilities but it soon became clear that many of the websites were out of date or abandoned.
Here are details of a number of places that have smallholding-related courses including some that I have actually tried and also some links to more information.
The courses shown here are highly recommended based on personal experience because I have been to both place and can vouch for the quality of the course material. They’re also very welcoming and friendly people as well!
- A general Pig keeping course run by Sarah Dodds at Yearle Tamworths just outside Wooler in Northumberland – very informative and covers all aspects that you would need before taking on pigs for the first time.
- The smallholding experience day course run by Simon and Debbie at Hidden Valley Pigs who are near Lynton, Devon – the best way to understand what we were taking on was to see someone else actually doing it from feeding chickens or pigs to milking goats to making sausages and bacon.
As I have no personal experience of these courses I can’t be sure of the quality or value for money but it seems worth listing a selection of those providing them. These provide either a range of general smallholding courses or they deal with specific topics such as certain livestock or breeds.