Karuna >> Introduction


Current fundraising Campeign!
Ends: 29th september 2015


Tractor & Topper for Karuna Insight Design C.I.C are crowdfunding now
Tractor & Topper for Karuna Insight Design C.I.C


Karuna is 10 years old this year. Lots of hard work and lots of achievements. And lots, lots more to do.

As time passes we are discovering what this complex agro-forestry projects basic needs are.

As the land changes, it’s needs change : what was once poor quality open  grazing fields, is now young woodlands and orchards, meadows, fruit tree nurseries, herbs and forest gardens, horticultural areas, polytunnel, pond, ducks, geese and nature observation points.

The new woodlands and diverse eco systems and micro climates are taking shape.2012 Photo showing tree growth with the rides inbetween,the growth is considerably larger now and becoming inaccessable in areas as well as Bramle and Blackthorn takeover

(2012 Photo showing tree growth with the rides inbetween,the growth is considerably larger now and becoming inaccessable in areas as well as Bramle and Blackthorn takeover).

Different aspects of the project need managing in different ways, with the right tools for the job.

One family alone cannot keep all this in order without the help of some heavy machinery......and your help!

At this point in time the tool that has become a priority for the project is a small to medium sized 4x4 tractor and topper (Mower).

We hope that our short video demonstrates how absolutely essential the need for this machinery is. And we hope that you will join in and be part of assisting the maintenance of this special, growing nature reserve and educational facility.

The Land needs caring for properly.

Public funding, such as ‘awards for all’ only fund brand new machinery-and a brand new tractor would simply be out of the question.

Problems for small scale agroforestry.

Crazily the government (Natural England) has ended the ‘Single Payment Scheme’ and introduced the new ‘Basic Payment Scheme’. Karuna does not have enough eligible land to take part in the new scheme. Karuna has lost that small amount of funding that once supported the maintenance of the land, primarily due to the fact that we have trees, instead of grazing.

Local surrounding, typical Shropshire, huge farms all use massive tractors that damage and churn up the land by their sheer weight. Entry down the rides at Karuna is impossible due to the giant size of these machines.Local Largescale farmers that are prepared to help with such an 'Unusual project',to them awkward, are rare.

Karuna can’t afford nor could it justify buying a new tractor even if it did have the funds.

We’ve been paying Ron, a good old dedicated ‘friend of Karuna’ to mow the grass, but can only manage to do so once a year.

(Ron mowing the open areas which takes him 12 hrs to complete)

In the video Ron explains the benefits of regular mowing to the surrounding wildlife. He also explains why it should be mowed much more frequently for better maintenance and land use, especially with regard to enabling more people to access the land in the near future. So that they can learn, and share more about growing healthy organic food and living sustainably.

Unfortunately the much courser grasses have become more and more of a problem as they have become establisheded, some impossible to scythe.

Kaurna’s precious volunteers, visitors and course participants can’t easily walk through the long uncut grass. When it rains they get saturated walking across the site to their accommodation and places of work in the open fields. This is most uncomfortable and inconvenient as they travel with few clothes in their back packs and suit cases and getting them dry can become a problem.

In mid-summer long, dry grass can also become a fire hazard.

Control of Blackthorn to prevent spreading is essential! The suckers spread and exploit the favourable habitat (the open paddocks and rides).Some areas have already been taken over and now require heavy machinery to get the areas back under control.

(we harvest Nettles at Karuna,but this sea of invasive nettles has become a growing problem and needs managing with heavy machinery).

Elimination of scrub and the spreading of unwanted weeds, thistles, nettles, doc, hog weed, brambles is essential to keep the land in good agricultural condition.

We have worked really hard and struggled to create a unique, natural ‘living work of art’ using Permaculture design.

A tractor will make all the difference to the site and enable more people to take advantage of the beautiful, exemplary design which has the welfare of both wildlife and the community at heart.

(Volunteers strugle to scythe around the orchards and forest garden areas.Some of the courser grasses have taken over)

Karuna now provides surroundings for inspiration, contemplation, learning and activity. Without proper maintenance the site will simply became an inaccessible jungle-no longer demonstrating how design and working with nature can lead to the healing of the land and community.We aim to have more people learning on the land!

(Children have great diffiiculty accessing the horticultural area where they learn about growing organic food)

Karuna already functions as an educational project, but the future of the project all depends on more people accessing the land. Wedding receptions, school children’s trips, Group visits, Eco-Camping/Glamping, retreats area are all part of the final vision for the future which is only possible when the land is maintained appropriately.

(A practical Forest gardening class in progress. Students struggle to get to the locations about the site with wheelbarrows full of tools and plants,where they need to work the land).

Fundamentally the 18 acre site shows that it is better to work with nature than against it. NOT to let it all go wild, not to dominate it, BUT to WORK WITH IT!

*Additionally a tractor will also assist with general tree care and hedgerow maintenance, and may also come in useful at a later date when we can afford a log splitter attachment for fire wood from the necessary 'thinning' of the woodlands and cleared storm damaged mature trees. This year we started to lay the hedgerows using traditional methods, but there are areas where the traditional, approach simply isn’t possible, so the hedge needs to be maintained with machinery,this is crucial!


After research we have learned that Karuna requires a 4x4 tractor as the land is very soft and wet and almost all of it sloping. The sum of £8,000 is really the minimum required to purchase a reliable 4x4 tractor (with Topper) that will continue to give years of problem free service.

This is your chance to help support a project that brings positive change,hopefully wiith the sucess of ths campeign,to MORE PEOPLE!

Please support Karuna to be more self-reliant by keeping the land in good order so more people and the environment can benefit.

Please be aware that absolutely any donation, large or small is helpful and most appreciated. Every donation counts!


Above T shirt design we are offering as a reward, in green, black or white

More info on the Karuna Isight Design CIC











Fundraising for Strawbale Roundhouse (2014)

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Karuna is open to the public via the following project www.permaculture.org.uk/land

It is also available to the public via educational courses & workshops or by volunteering.

Karuna is a Sanskrit word meaning compassion. In “Island” a novel by Aldous Huxley (his last novel) Minah birds were trained to repeat 'Karuna'.The island was a place where people were kind and happy, they had equality without mediocrity, compassion as well as intellect and science side by side with art. Islands happen to be our favourite places!

Karuna is located within an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) near Picklescott, on the upper fringes of the Long Mynd, it faces out towards stupendous far reaching open views of the Stretton Hills and surrounding countryside.

 Click here to see   short film

The soil at Karuna is quite fertile, the area was once covered in trees, it is now naked compared to what it once was. Being lovers of trees and the land we have a desire to restore a small part of it and restore it's fertility through what we call 'Insight Design'. 

Aerial view of Karuna (Sept 2012). Showing results of applied "Insight Design"- New diverse woodlands/nature reserve & arboretum ,Forest gardens, fruit tree nurseries, horticultural area, water holding, Low impact dwelling  & Love...Established over  8 years.

Trees are one of the most important assets on the planet, contributing to the solutions of many of the problems that challenge humankind. Trees make a positive impact on the environment, playing a vital role in the battle to reduce global warming; they take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, they offer a means to meet the needs of an exploding global population from the finite resources of the planet; maintain water supplies, check floods and soil erosion. As trees are permanent crops, their cultivation does not require regular ploughing which damages soil structure. Life on our planet could not exist without trees and yet vast tracts of forests across the globe are being destroyed!

It is not enough to criticise the felling of tropical forests - we should all be working to restore our own forests, take positive action towards a sustainable future, by working with nature rather than against it.

At Karuna, an 18 acre site, three separate woodlands (approx 9 acres) of over 50 species were planted in the winter 2006, each  year there has been additional planting, there are now over  10,000 trees planted, including many traditional fruit trees, nitrogen fixing trees, plus plants and herbs, thus laying the foundations for agroforestry and 'Forest Gardening' using permaculture and natural farming techniques/principles for production of fruits, nuts, vegetables and medicinal plants, based on interaction between different life forms in order to stimulate and support one another (symbiosis).

The project was developped to demonstrate that sustainable land management is a major way forward if the present climate crisis is to be reversed. That is if there is to be any future for our children.

We know, from studying the rocks of our planet, that there was once a time when life did not exist here. Man, in seeing himself separate from nature and taking from it as he pleases is destroying all forms of life as he goes. If he does not change he will soon destroy himself.

Karuna possesses deep mystical magic in its soil, it has great potential and gives out signals and speaks to those who are receptive to its almost forgotten language. The land is calling out to be healed. We have chosen to respond to it in order to share our love of the natural world, especially with our children and our community.

Traditionally small wooded areas were often managed on the outer edge of English villages, not simply for their raw materials and medicines. Trees offer us the opportunity to recognise inner peace and understanding when we place ourselves quietly amongst them. Developing and raising awareness of Community,sustainability,Food growing,Low impact living, climate change, wildlife conservation, holistic healing and art are the projects deepest concerns.

There is no better way to reach others than by example, and to offer the opportunity for all of us to develop through direct experience and serve human ends harmlessly while creating conditions conducive to all life.

There is a priority to develop biodiversity and true sustainable awareness at Karuna and links with local schools and educational groups etc have been made.We have been recording the increasing diversity of flora and fauna at the site.The land is nolonger grazed (with the exception of ducks) which leads to natural regeneration.

We need to get back to our heritage - our birthright - the land. Karuna aims to fulfill the opportunity for people to lovingly care for the earth which brings us into life, nourishes and sustains us, and ultimately takes us back again.

Agriculture is the very basis of our existence and is likely to go on being so, if we are to survive at all. Even agricultural ‘experts’ can now see and admit that the present system of agriculture in the west is unsustainable as it depends entirely on oil. There is now an agricultural depression, and this industry completely hooked on sophisticated machinery and huge chemical inputs is finding it very hard to carry on.Thankfully Alternatives do exist. 

Low impact living  as a meaningful transition in the face of climate change,peak oil and economic instability which is nolonger a future possibility but a current reality.The transition  to energy decent will be difficult.However the sooner we start preparing for it the easier it will be.If people continue on their current path for another 8-10 years our choice will be lost and we will have committed ourselves,our species and our planet to catastrophic climate change.

The good news is we can begin the transition  process right now!

Karuna serves as a demonstration as to some of the possibilities that exist to help revitalise the British countryside and help the nation feed and power itself.As time passes more people within the community are becoming interested in Low impact solutions and the project has become a highly valued working educational resource.Energy at Karuna  comes mostly from on site renewables(wind & Sun).We recycle rainwater and waste including humanure which is fed back into the earth when used as fertiliser for the hundreds of healthy fruit trees and shrubs.We also grow as much of our own food as possible,the fuel (trees) that we planted 8 years is now being used.

The project embraces permaculture techniques, especially temperate climate Forest Gardening. Robert Hart, Shropshire’s own world famous pioneer of temperate climate forest gardening, is a great inspiration to us and is held dear in our hearts. Forest Gardening supports the Raw Food Diet (the original diet of humankind). This diet is radically environmentally friendly, any minimal waste created through it is easily recycled into compost. Through adopting this natural diet we save on energy that gets wasted through cooking, a process which robs us of our food’s nutritional value. Eating raw fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods is a major solution to world pollution. Landfills are filled with products directly or indirectly related to cooked and processed foods, such as: packaging, wrappers, bags, old stoves. microwaves etc. The supply system is also dependent at every turn on massive use of motor transport (oil) which poisons and pollutes the environment we live in, the air we breathe.

We hope that more and more of the community will benefit from fruit and vegetables organically grown at Karuna.

The project also demonstrates…How people can take responsibility for themselves by producing some of their own food,fuel and power and that the food they are unable able to grow is best grown as locally as possible, with no harmful chemicals in its growing or storage.Beware of Food miles!


James Grieve.

The project has been developped in order to serve small groups and individuals within the local and broader community in a multitude of ways.Karuna is neither politically nor religiously biased and we hope to cross these artificial divides.

Karuna is oriented towards the experience of change. We are simply sowing seeds and what is the seeds destiny? We know that any real solutions must embody a change of heart - an emphatic connection with the fullness of life.Together we are creating an age of restoration, guided by the shared values of interdependence, kinship, cooperation, community and mutual aid. There is a dramatic urgency for us to share ingeniously effective solutions with the widest possible audience, inspiring them to join in our work. Your support is needed with advice and assistance in fundraising, practical garden work, materials, web site development, constructive creative ideas for new directions within the project etc are all welcome.

We welcome people who share similar dedicated sympathetic nuturance of nature, and have some vision of creativity. You are invited to offer suggestions as well as participate.Please dont hesitate contact us NOW.





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