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Meet Samson the horse: a farm of the future

Reclaim the Fields are delighted to invite you to volunteer at Chagfood and Steward Wood from 7-16 May.

A four-year-old Welsh cob cross Dartmoor pony is revolutionising farming. Samson is the heart of a project that keeps time-tested skills alive and proves that resilient low impact farming in the UK can be profitable. This is a taste of the the future of British farms amid peak oil: Chagfood.

Steward Wood, four miles away, is a pioneering permaculture project which fought the planning system and won permission for their community to integrate conservation woodland management techniques with organic growing, traditional skills and crafts and low-impact sustainable living.

7-16 May

Samson with Ed Hamer at Chagfood

Fully booked

Depending on the weather, volunteers may learn sowing, planting out, working up ground, possibly a bit of horse work with Samson, harvesting on box day and…. inevitably a bit of weeding! Chagfood would also be happy to chat to you about our experience of setting-up Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) from scratch and any ways they can help you with your own projects. Chagfood has been featured on radio 4 as a new radical farming model for Britain.

There will be a nice quiet, tidy spot to pitch some tents. The field has a compost loo, drinking water on tap and a beautiful river/”swimming pool” 5 minutes’ walk away. Volunteers will take turns to cook the evening meal on the fire or the stove at the field, and on the drier days there might be some bonfires.

Volunteers will stay at Chagfood from Mon 7 to Fri 11 May in the morning, where you will walk (or cycle ) a picturesque four miles to Steward Wood along a Dartmoor common and hill. This should take about an hour and a half.

At Steward Wood, you are invited to take the opportunity to live and learn with the community managing the woodland, growing food, preparing firewood, building winter firewood stores and all of the hundreds of other things Steward Wood does to live as sustainably as they can in the woodland.

You will be all volunteering as a group at Steward Wood from 11 – 16 May, but you are also welcome to stay longer wwoofing at Steward Wood up to a week afterwards, to get a deeper feel for sustainable woodland living.

Fully booked

To book, please phone 0754 516 4096. You will need warm clothes, a tent and sleeping bag, outdoor clothes for muddy work, a waterproof coat, steel toe-cap boots or wellies, a torch and – of course – bucketloads of enthusiasm for sustainable living! Please arrive at Chagfood, TQ13 8DG, on Monday 7 May in the afternoon.

You will be able to continue wwoofing at Steward Wood for a week after the group trip officially ends on 16 May.

For more tidbits of fact:
Chagfood: in the national news and official site.
Steward Wood: wins planning permission and official site.

For directions, please see and


2 responses to “Meet Samson the horse: a farm of the future

  1. Rod ⋅

    RTF is doing great work and I support your aims. However, it is misleading to indicate that ploughing with horses is a solution to growing food after Peak Oil.
    Horses need to eat, so much more land would be needed to grow food to feed the horses.
    The horses wouldl still need to eat even through the Winter, when there will be little work for them to do.
    I’m sorry to tell you this, but the hard truth is that we have to grow our food with our own labour and our own ingenuity (e.g. with no-dig/no-plough, mulching the land with compost and green manures.)
    We should also consider the moral issue of using other animals as our slaves.
    For more information see:

  2. wwolfing

    Hi Rod,

    Thank you for raising a really important point; if anyone else wants to respond and flesh out this very interesting debate, please go ahead!

    Needless to say we’d be very pleased to run a trip to a veganic growing project!


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