Shift Bristol

Welcome to our Temporary Home Page. Apologies from the Shift Bristol Team.

Our web site was compromised by a cyber-attack - this is a temporary site until we recover our files. Contact Iain on 07748 987 637 or email for more information about Shift Bristol. We do still have a couple of places left for our Practical Sustainability Course starting on the 2nd of September this year.

We're working on getting the site back up as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience. The course Curriculum and some other key information is given below. There's also our Facebook page -

Iain Stewart.


The course is split into 10 modules.

Most study will take place in Bristol with field trips to rural sites around the South West and Wales. Including Ben Law's woodland, The Agroforestry Research Trust, Fivepenny Farm, Ourganics, Brithdir Mawr and others.

There will be guest speakers in addition to the lead tutors on some of the modules.

The course is a mix of classroom and site based with practical sessions run on local community projects.

Designs and practical work are taken on in line with the real requirements of the participating sites.

Booking a Place, Course teaching hours and Fees.

To book a place on the course please request a booking form from Iain. Send an email to

The course runs from 9.30am til 5.30pm on a Tuesday and Wednesday, then from 9.30 til 1.30pm on a Thursday, so, two and a half days per week. We follow the school term times so there are holidays at Christmas, Easter etc.

The fee is a sliding scale between £2150 and £2950 per student for the full year's tuition. You decide where you fit on this scale. The system is based on trust. A deposit of £550 is required to secure your place. The remainder to be paid at the start of the course or by instalments by arrangement (a guarantor is required if you want to pay by instalments).

Biographies of our Tutors

Sarah Pugh has been teaching Permaculture in Bristol and the UK since 2003. She teaches an annual urban based course and on the Sustainable Land Use course with Patrick Whitefield at Ragmans Lane Farm. She has worked as a community gardener, fundraiser, events organiser and development consultant in Bristol's voluntary sector over the past 10 years. In 2006 she initiated and co-ordinated Transition Bristol and trained as a Transition Trainer. She is a founder member of the Bristol Permaculture Group and has been actively involved in many community environment projects.

Patrick Whitefield grew up on a smallholding in North Somerset and qualified in agiculture. He has experience in farming, gardening, nature conservation, country crafts and green politics. He has been a permaculture teacher since 1990 and is the author of Permaculture in a Nutshell, How to Make a Forest Garden, The Earth Care Manual and The Living Landscape. He has also appeared on television, notably in the film A Farm for the Future. He also practices as a design consultant. He lives in Glastonbury.

For over 20 years Mike Feingold has been teaching Permaculture to and learning from communities around the world including Nepal , India , Palestine , Kenya and beyond. He has also been maintaining an inspiring Permaculture allotment in Bristol for most of that time. He is a founder member of the Bristol Permaculture Group and organiser of the Glastonbury Festival Permaculture demonstration garden. Mike is one of the UK 's leading experts in sustainable and experimental gardening.

For 15 years Nick Osborne has worked in management, leadership, training, consultancy or activist roles with organisations including Changemakers, Shell, Amnesty International and the Ecovillage Network. Nick has a BSc in Social Philosophy and MSc in Management Development and Social Responsibility. He works freelance as a Trainer & Consultant, as a founder of Response-Ability, working to help people to respond creatively and flexibly to today's challenging change and complexity. Nick is an active member of Transition Glastonbury, helped develop a network of Transition groups in Somerset and delivers Transition Training nationally.He has a written a course on developing group skills for transition initiatives called 'Weaving Magic'. Nick is currently developing ways to support all kinds of organisations to become resilient organisations which sustain the social and ecological sytems on which they depend.

Dr Chris Johstone is a specialist in the psychology of change and author of Find Your Power - a toolkit for resilience and positive change (2nd ed, Permanent Publications, due out May 2010). For over two decades he has studied, taught and written about the psychological dimensions of sustainability, working closely with Joanna Macy in running workshops to promote empowered responses to global issues. He has written for Permaculture Magazine and contributed to The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins. He produces The Great Turning Times, a free email newsletter about creating a life-affirming society.

Alice Cutler is a founder member of Trapese Popular Education Collective and a freelance trainer. Trapese formed in 2004 and have since been running participatory workshops on a range of issues including climate change, migration, globalisation and the roots of the food crisis. Alice co-wrote and edited, "Do It Yourself, A Handbook for Changing our World" published by Pluto Press in 2007. The book has sold more than 4000 copies, has been translated into several different languages and has provided a solid foundation for Trapese's ongoing educational work. For the past four years Alice has been delivering trainings in consensus decision making, popular education techniques and successful campaigning. She has more than ten years experience of being involved with grassroots projects and social movements and currently lives in Bristol where she also teaches English as a foreign language.

Tim Foster has been teaching organic gardening courses in and around Bristol including at City of Bristol College for 10 years. He has extensive experience of horticulture, gardening, landscaping, nursery-work, garden centre-work, tree-work and market gardening as well as a degree in horticulture and a BEd. He also has a keen interest in wine-making and brewing.

Matt Dunwell has owned and run Ragmans Lane Farm since 1990. He has hosted numerous courses over the last eighteen years for teachers such as Bill Mollison, Mike Feingold, Chris Evans, Andy Langford and Jude and Michel Fanton from Australia, Starhawk and Penny Livingston- Stark from LA as well as the team below who currently teach at Ragmans. He has experience through his management of Ragmans, in staff and volunteer managment, livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry), vegetables, mushroom production and apple juicing. Matt also founded Worldly Goods, a book distribution company based in Bristol, which he co owns with Peter Andrews. He was on the steering group of Transition Forest of Dean for a year, and has worked as a consultant for the Foundation of Local Food Initiatives. He co authored the first Local Food Directory in 1997. He has been a Trustee of the Tudor Trust for 25 years.

Ben Law lives and works at Prickly Nut Wood in West Sussex, where apart from making a living from coppicing he trains apprentices and runs courses on sustainable woodland management, ecobuilding and permaculture design. He is author of The Woodland Way, a permaculture approach to sustainable woodland management and The Woodland House, which charts the building of his unique cruck framed home in the woods. The building of his house was filmed for Channel 4's Grand Designs programme and proved to be the most popular program of the series. Ben now runs occasional open days in response to the popular demand. Ben's third book The Woodland Year, was published in 2008.

Chris Vernon is an engineer, scientist, blogger, speaker and athlete. Before his early release from industry, Chris was for almost a decade an engineer in the field of cellular telecoms, specialising in radio network architecture and off-grid power. Now Chris concentrates on a PhD in glaciology blogs both here and at The Oil Drum supports the work of the Centre for Sustainable Energy, speaks on energy security and climate change and competes in triathalon and ultrarunning events.

Jenni Horsfall is a mental health professional with over 10 years experience of working in the NHS. She is a highly skilled group facilitator in theWork that Reconnects and has trained intensively with Joanna Macy. Jenni currently works in higher education providing holistic interventions to students with mental health needs and offers training, consultancy and supervision to staff. Jenni has training in Gestalt therapy and developing as an ecotherapist. Jenni feels passionate about the potential for humans to experience a deeper and joyous relationship to the earth and regularly takes time out to walk and connect with the outdoors.

Max Drakehas been involved Herbal Medicine for many years both as a manufacturer and as a practising Medical Herbalist. He has set up a clinic, shop, and teaching facility at the Urban Fringe Dispensary and manufactures most of the medicines from locally sourced herbs. Max has taught short and long courses in the Bristol area on Western Herbal Medicine and Holistic Perspectives in Healthcare. The central purpose of his herbal teaching is to build community resilience in the face of near future changes in legislation and the availability of resources, where it makes sense to spread the knowledge and skills required to use native and local plants and medicinal preparations.

Andy Hamilton is the co-founder of and co-author of The Selfsufficientish Bible. Andy either grows or forages much of his own food. His interest in wild plants goes further than food as he is a keen amateur herbalist and home brewer.

Jay Abrahams is a microbiologist who has a long term passion for low-entropy systems design. He attended a full permaculture design course in 1992. As a result of this course, he set up Biologic Design, his vehicle for the creation of sustainable wastewater purification and energy generation systems. He gained his Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design in 1994. Having lived off-grid for 25 years he has first hand experience of living lightly, using renewable energy and natural waste purification. Through Biologic Design he is presently creating WET Systems - constructed wetlands for wastewater purification, resource production, biodiversity enhancement and habitat creation; and also installing Treebogs (composting toilets) for a wide range of groups. He is working with Transition Towns to establish community owned Anaerobic Digestion systems (for energy production from wastes). He is also involved in sustainable woodland management, and was a director of Beetlewood Activities, a woodland-based ecological and emotional literacy education group.

Trevor Houghton is an independent energy and climate change researcher and consultant. He was until recently a senior consultant and a director of CAG Consultants - a co-operative company working in the field of sustainable development, regeneration and stakeholder involvement. He was formerly the head of research at the Centre for Sustainable Energy and has been a lecturer/tutor on degree and masters courses at UWE, the Open University and the Centre for Alternative Technology. He has been a member of the Energy Saving Trust's Expert Panel on ESCos.

Laura Corfield has been facilitating Permaculture courses for the past 3 years and is a trainee Permaculture teacher. She recently initiated Transition Keynsham and has been involved with a range of local permaculture projects. She co-founded Shift Bristol with Sarah Pugh in 2009.

Sara Grimes is currently a Corporate Sustainability Officer at Bath & North East Somerset Council. Prior to this she worked in the US as a grassroots organiser for environmental and political campaigns, eventually becoming the North West Regional Organising Director for the Student Public Interest Research Groups. Most recently, she worked on the Obama campaign. Upon return to the UK, Sara obtained an MSc in Environmental Policy to re-acquaint herself with UK issues, and worked briefly with the Greening Campaign before finding employment with her hometown Council.

Since graduating with an Ecological Sciences degree with Forestry honours Mike Gardener has been working throughout Britain sustainably managing woodlands to produce a wide range of high added value forest products. Initially coppicing, hurdle making and charcoal burning he has continually been gaining new skills and experience in making various wood products from our local woodlands. As well as running various courses and training programmes he has also travelled to India, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the US to study sustainable forestry. Based with a wood yard in Devon I run a successful forestry business planting trees, managing various woodlands selling sawn and round timber, chestnut fencing, furniture and bespoke timber buildings.

Tony Wrench lives in West Wales in an extremely rural setting in a roundhouse that he designed using permaculture principles and built with his partner Faith. (She was called Jane then). They had difficulty getting planning permission, but now it has been accepted under Pembs Coast Nat. Park's policy 52, as an official Low Impact Development. He occasionally builds roundhouses for other people as courses, click here to see some of these builds on his website courses page.


Contact Iain on 07748 987 637 or email for more information.
Thanks for your patience. Iain Stewart.