Writing the Landscape and Walking the Seasons

3 Feb 2019 | 0 comments

The night before visiting Trill for a seasonal walk in preparation for this piece, I read two versions of an Inuit story about the powerful goddess of the Arctic seas, Sedna, and then fall asleep and dream. 

I dream I’m having my hair cut, washed clean with a waterfall of hands and flowing taps, but I’m irritated. After some time the hairdresser admires my long sleek hair and carries a mirror to show me the view from the back where I can’t see, lifts my hair and screams - huge ugly knots remain beneath the surface that need cutting out in chunks. I feel much lighter once they are gone.

And I remember the times that knots of chaos and anger in burning clouds of ice have surrounded my head, blocked the way forwards creatively and emotionally. Tangles that needed combing out with magic and love, ritual and intention, and with time outdoors in nature. The pen is a very good tool to dive deep under sea with.

I sit up at the Trill Farm Campsite the next day in a bright moment of February sunshine, rain clouds gathering in the blue distance of the Blackdown Hills. I think about knots and how hard they are to loosen if you don’t know how they were tied, and I think about the healing power of relationship to the land, re-connection. I think about the writing retreats that I am running here. The first is in just a few weeks. 

I sit and listen to the Spring song of birds and watch the shimmering wet grass, I’m surrounded by all manner of beings sharing this moment and space, this breath. I feel smooth, unruffled, and utterly alive. Excited and ready to teach, ready to unfold my own story here, combing the way as I come with song and story and the stillness of beholding.

Trill is a very special landscape. Ancient rural land with traces of the industrial age (a once railway line, now permissive byway), wild woods, working farm, kitchen gardens, lakes and reed labyrinth in more cultivated grounds near the house. It is wide and vast enough to find space for both head and imagination to immerse and explore sensory ‘other’ perspectives of field, sky and woodland-being, yet close enough to walk home for a cup of tea, and a desk to write.

The upcoming creative writing retreats will be fun, playful, creative and stimulating. The guesthouse has a warm farmhouse feel to it, one of community and nourishment; this is our hall, our comfort and our indoor classroom. There is a large lounge and wood burner. We’ve also planned study areas in the Craft Room and cosy reading spaces. After intense mornings in workshops, you can daydream, wander and muse your way through afternoons exploring nature’s portal of wonders, and the page. Or rest, restore, and nourish yourself however suits you. The retreat is a chance to get away from daily distractions and focus in a dynamic creative environment, fuelled by fresh and delicious meals from Trill’s chefs, and with tea and cake always at the ready.

The retreats are aimed to spark and fan the flames of imagination at all levels and abilities, whether you are in the middle of a writing project or need a boost to get started again. With prompts, discussion, community and the land, you’ll organically absorb fresh seasonal energy, find confidence in your authentic voice, and create new work. All you need to bring is a pen and paper, your curiosity, an open mind and heart….and wellies!

Written by Sarah Acton, Jurassic Coast Poet in Residence.

Discover more about our Creative Writing Retreats & Walks led by Sarah.


A New Culinary Calendar in the Old Dairy Kitchen

3 Feb 2019 | 0 comments

A big welcome home to Chris and Anna, who have just arrived back on the farm, fresh from a few weeks travelling around Vietnam collecting recipes, inspiration, and some winter sun! (We're not jealous...)

They will be sharing some of the culinary highlights of their trip at their Vietnamese Feasts on Thursday 28th February and Friday 1st March (second date added due to popular demand) - book fast to avoid disappointment! The Old Dairy Kitchen Feasts will continue throughout the year on the first Friday of every month.

The ever popular Wednesday and Saturday Farm Lunches start up again on Wednesday 20th March, featuring produce fresh from the garden, farm and surrounding land. New for 2019, Chris will also be offering fortnightly Sunday lunches from 20th April - we encourage you to book with your family and friends to share the experience. We can't wait to try them!

Coming up in February and March are the first Old Dairy Kitchen courses of the year.

We hope to share a meal with you on the farm soon.

Opportunity at Trill: Voluntary Trainee Herb Grower

2 Feb 2017 | 2 comments

Voluntary Training Role Available at Trill Farm: Trill Trainee Herb Grower

Placement details:

This is a 6 month-long placement starting in Spring 2019 (preferably February and at the latest March) with residential spaces available. 

This is a traineeship based upon a volunteering arrangement allowing you to learn how to plan and maintain a working herb garden.  You will have the advantage of a practical learning environment making use of the Trill Farm Herb Garden and its facilities.  We will provide support and training throughout your placement. 

Your main focus of work will be learning about medicinal herbs, how to plan, grow and process medicinal herbs. 

Your work can be outlined as follows:

  • Developing and maintaining herb growing areas in line with agreed plans.
  • Working alongside other volunteers on an ad hoc basis.
  • Creating extracts for soaps and dried herbs for textile dyeing and teas.
  • Assisting the owner of the farm, Romy Fraser, in the development of herbal projects. 

You will also have the benefit of spending one day per week working in the Trill Farm Garden learning propagation, composting and general garden care from the market garden team. There will also be the opportunity to join Annie McIntyre’s Herbal Medicine retreats hosted seasonally at Trill Farm. There may also be the opportunity for a series of week-long placements at some of our professional contact’s organic herb gardens in order to gain a wider understanding of herb production, business structures and plant knowledge. 

We are able to provide accommodation and food for the duration of your placement. Please do note that this placement is based on a voluntary agreement and is not paid, there is no expectation and arrangement that any paid role will be offered at the end of the placement.  You will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement with Trill Farm as part of your volunteers agreement. 

Personal Specifications

In offering this placement we are looking for someone that is able to:

  • Display a proven interest in medicinal herbs and natural remedies. 
  • Work in an organised and methodical way.
  • Work as part of a small team but not be afraid to spend periods of time working alone on set tasks.
  • Work with us to achieve our wider aims and objectives within the operations of Trill Farm.
  • Be reliable.
  • Give commitment.
  • Air any problems/issues immediately to the appropriate person.
  • Respect confidentiality, equal opportunities and health and safety policies. 
  • Attend relevant training.
  • Uphold the name and reputation of Trill Farm at all times.
  • Comply with health and safety rules.
  • Enjoy work and learning.
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic. 
  • Be reliable and trustworthy. 

Our responsibilities to you 

As a volunteer you can expect: 

  • A clear volunteer support framework.
  • To be given tasks that you are capable of and that are of benefit to Trill Farm.
  • A clearly defined outline of the task(s) we would like you to undertake.
  • To have a member of staff nominated as a key contact.
  • To have expenses reimbursed, at the appropriate rates, where possible and pre-agreed.
  • That we strive to ensure equality of opportunity within Trill Farm.
  • Safe working conditions.
  • To join the communal lunches on weekdays with the Trill Farm team.
  • Accommodation and food as a residential option (details can be provided separately if you would like this). 

We will also try to ensure that you:

  • Are kept informed of changes and developments affecting you.
  • Have the opportunity to be involved with decision making that affects you, where appropriate.
  • Are able to say no to inappropriate requests outside the task outline/volunteer charter.
  • Have access to a complaints and dissatisfaction procedure.
  • Feel your contribution is valued by paid staff, who are fully aware of the nature and purpose of volunteering.

To apply please email alex@trillfarm.co.uk.

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