Blackdown Hills Eco Hub News

A community group created through a partnership between Trimplants and the Blackdown Hills Transition Group

Open Day 29th March 2024 
11-16:00 hrs.

We'll be selling off some of our larger/mature plants at very good prices (they've been a bit unloved this past year, so will need some weeding), we need to free up some space and reorganise!


You'll have the opportunity to meet and chat with Nicola Peel, Environmentalist and Solutionist, who has vast experience in preventing tropical deforestation through teaching agroforestry in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Regenerating soil and returning biochar to the Amazon.


We will also be joined by Dr. Compost - Nicky Scott who is a renowned composting expert. He is currently working with South Hams DC along with Sustainable S Hams and Sus S Brent on finding community and home composting solutions for the District. He is also currently updating his 'How to Make and Use Compost' book for Bloomsbury and working with the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust on composting solutions for all their schools and helping plan their school farm.


Graeme from Carbon Farmers will be demonstrating our latest acquisition for the Blackdown Hills Eco Hub - the Social Tawi 

(Coupon Code: bhecohub for a 10% reduction -



We'll share updates from our latest biochar research. We'll also show you around our community vegetable growing space and the new trials we've just started.


Our starter packs of biochar will also be available £7 for the pouch 

(2 litres) and £8 for the box (2.5 litres).


Cash only for plants/biochar as we sadly have a very very poor internet connection!

Presentation of Research and Findings - GISS Project 
29th January 2024 18:30-20:00 hrs.
Online Zoom Call

We'll be sharing final results and findings from our GISS biochar research project also online for those who are unable to join us in Churchinford on the 28th January.

Recording of our Zoom call is here:

Presentation of Research and Findings - GISS Project 
28th January 2024, 1400-17:00 hrs.
Churchinford Village Hall

We'll be sharing final results and findings from our GISS biochar research project with Plymouth University. 
Tom and Naofel will join us and share results from our latest phase of the project looking at different feedstocks.

They'll also share overall project findings which examined differences between the 2 inoculations (Terry's compost tea and Soilsmiths Goop) and how quickly microbial networks set up in the trial cuttings we planted in May. We'll also showcase Naofels amazing work in Chlorophyll Fluorescence looking at plant health, biomass of roots, thermal conductivity etc.

No Plastic Christmas Natural Wreath Making Workshop
9th December 13:30 - 16:30 hrs

Learn together, (no experts, but we've had 2 previous years of practice) we have some amazingly creative people around us, who've made an incredible array of very different wreaths.  Start preparations for your no plastic Christmas with us.

Make your unique wreath with natural materials from around the nursery. Get into the Christmas spirit with mulled wine and mince pies!

The workshop is free but we'd appreciate a donation to cover our costs and enable us to continue with our projects and events.

Biochar Workshop
18th November 10:30 - 16:30 hrs

We'll update you on results from our current Plymouth University partnership research project with Tom and Naofel.  

Introduction to GiSS project:  
- Explanation of results/experiments so far – and images.  - Next stages of analysis and Biochar Feedstocks  
- Why looking at biochar feedstock is important for wider
   sustainability of Biochar. 

We'll also make biochar with 4-5 separated feedstocks for the next stage of the project.  (Including: Ash, willow, rhododendron).


Come and join us! Keep warm around the dragons. 

We also invite you to join us for lunch in the polytunnel!


Please register here: 

Plant/Leaf Dye Workshop 9th September 13:30 - 17:30 hrs.

An afternoon learning how to dye clothes/paper using leaves, flowers, rusty bolts and vegetable dyes with Julia and Miriam to create amazing works of art. Bring along any natural fabrics you'd like to experiment with can be washed, but should not have been rinsed in conditioner.

We're also looking forward to welcoming an artist Nikki who uses charcoal for their work. We may experiment with different twigs we've baked in the Dragons. 

Delighted to be launching our new research project with Plymouth University on 8th July 2023 from 15:00-20:00 hrs.

Come and meet our research partners Tom and Naofel who will introduce our project.

We'll also be joined by Carbon Farmers who have built an amazing biochar stove which we'll use to cook food whilst making biochar.

We may also be joined by Hideo, a research student from Reading University who is investigating why there is such a slow take up for business/farming/households to use biochar.

If you plan to join us, please car share if you can as there is limited parking space.


Nicola Peel at the BH Eco Hub

We're delighted Nicola Peel will also join us on the 8th July at around 16:30 hrs, for a discussion about Regenerative Farming (she presented at this year's Oxford Real Farming Conference) and all things biochar.


Nicola has been working for over 20 years in the Ecuadorean Amazon. In 2016 she started an agroforestry project for the charity Rainforest Saver and is now working with around 100 farmers and 6 agricultural colleges. Their mission is to prevent tropical deforestation by regenerating the soil. Using the method of inga alley cropping they have had remarkable results.


Nicola has spoken this year at the International Forest Gardening Symposium and The Oxford Real Farming Conference. Here is an email testimonial from Mike Donovan, editor & publisher of Practical Farm Ideas

"Congrats on your Oxford Real Conference presentation. It was inspirational and I will be publishing the QR in the next issue of Practical Farm Ideas. It is surely the most important agri development in our time. Seeing the results on coffee and cocoa is remarkable. The prospect of reducing slash and burn is of huge benefit. Best wishes, and thanks for making my day! "

Nicola is a Solutionist and regenerative agriculture is one of the crucial solutions we all need to be discussing wherever in the world we live.


She's also an Ambassador for OnePlanet and their amazing mapping technology, bringing visualisation and connection to the complex web of communities, public and private companies working on solutions to climate and ecological challenges.


We'll set up the BBQ, so please bring along food to share (if you can, if you can't no problem as there's always plenty) and we can make it a nice social event, hopefully on a lovely Summer evening!





Food Growing Community Launch 15th April 2023

Thanks to the over 30 people who joined us to start our food growing community.  We plan to share all produce with those involved and with local community food larders and food sharing projects.  Everyone welcome!


Next meet up dates:


Saturday 29th April from 11:00 - 13:00 hrs.

Wednesday 17th May from 14:00 - 17:00 hrs.


As from 24th May you're welcome to come along whenever you wish from 14-16:00 hrs. on Wednesdays and 10-12:00 hrs. on Saturdays.



Why A Food Growing Community?

Food security: The Eco Hub's aim is to support people in the local community to have access to healthy, nutritious food, learning and sharing expertise on how to grow it, whilst developing healthy soils and raising awareness on how to maintain a low carbon impact. Food insecurity and decline in soil quality is a growing issue in the UK and is likely to become worse later this year.  


Nutrients found in  supermarket vegetables is also decreasing, if we can grow our food in better soils, with no chemicals, we should also improve our gut biome, leading to improved health and wellbeing.  


By encouraging local food production at the Hub and people planting food at home, we hope over time to build our local resilience.


Community building: Our community food growing group is also helping to bring people together and build social connections. This can be especially important in rural areas where social isolation can be a problem.  Spending some time in the outdoors, close to a rich natural habitat whilst getting some exercise, chatting over a cup of tea, making new friends, is a great way to spend a few hours.


Environmental benefits: Growing food locally can have a range of environmental benefits including low transport/production costs.  Our no dig/ permaculture approach removes the need for pesticides and other chemicals, conserving water and promotes biodiversity.





Low Carbon Devon Showcase
11th November 2022

A short presentation to Low Carbon Devon on our biochar research project with Plymouth University and Low Carbon Devon.


You can watch the video here starting at 6 mins 39

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