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Energy, complexity and permaculture design

Climate Change - Don't Panic  a pdf of the slideshow is here


 "Permaculture: I used to be uncertain, but now I'm not so sure ..."

It is about complexity and the unique opportunities that permaculture designers have to work with it. The discussion points for IPC12 follow on from the Nordic Institute's Plan B for permaculture (pdf), presented by Tony Andersen at EuPC9. I will also talk about:

Sustainability - what happened when Uncle Bill went to Texas

Complexity - a little old lady swallows a fly, what next?

Energy - why Vandana Shiva says that people will become like vermin

Strategy - why the Transition dog may be barking up the wrong tree

Designer mindset - recognising current patterns and studiously avoiding them

Some resources at

Look out for:

Prof Tainter  on what can we learn from the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire?

Sir John Glubb and the worrying rise of celebrity chefs in the developed world.

Northern School Design guide

Northern School International PDC 2015 - course venues

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The course will be run at a series of venues, allowing varied tours and visits, from the stunning natural beauty of upland Scotland to the post-industrial heartland of Manchester.

Wiston Lodge

The course starts in a Victorian hunting lodge in the Upper Clyde Valley in Scotland. Wiston Lodge is a residential outdoor centre run by an award-winning registered charity. Primarily an outdoor activity centre for young people, Wiston Lodge also hosts conferences, festivals and courses for adults. The Lodge has its own walled garden which supplies the kitchen. The surrounding estate is heavily wooded.

Google Map



At the edge of the famous Loch Tay at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, this is the site of a new eco-hamlet at the heart of a traditional upland farm. The award-winning buildings include The Big Shed, a beautiful conference centre where our course will be based. The existing farm is being developed along permaculture lines.
Google map


Farm Shop


Middlewood Trust is located in a beautiful valley that lies in the Pennine hills inland from the historic town of Lancaster in the North West of England. The area includes a small organic hill farm with species rich meadows, moorland, and an extensive area of native woodland that hosts courses in appropriate technology and permaculture.

Google Map





Arguably the powerhouse that drove the Industrail Revolution out into the world, by the turn of the millenium Manchester had, both literally and metaphorically, run out of steam. Frantically attempting to embrace a  21st Centrury "Knowledge Industry" (with some success) it is still wrestling with the 21st centrury issues that affect nearly every city around the globe.

Although described by the partner of one of Manchester's celebrity spanish soccer players as "looking like the back end of a fridge", Manchester, together with its twin-city Salford, is a typical post-inductrial landscape that has yet to succumb to "mega-city" status. It remains a a unique cultural centre, bristling with a sense of history that inspires a dynamic approach to shaping the future.

We will complete our course in the historic "Northern Quarter", formerly full of textile factories and small workshops at the heart of the City Centre. The final days of the course will be hald at The Wonder Inn, a "Grade II listed" (historic interest) building in the middle of Manchester. It is being transformed into a creativity, wellness & pop-up centre by singer Kirsty Almeida & sculptor Mari Oda, both rising figures in the Manchester's ever-evolving cultural landscape.

       Google Map








Return to PDC 2015


Northern School International PDC Summer 2015

***  THIS COURSE HAS BEEN POSTPONED - e-mail us for further information  ***

This Permaculture Design course will run from Sunday 23rd August  - Friday 4th September 2015 (with an optional additional programme from Saturday 5th September - Monday 7th September).

The course will be certificated internationally by the Permaculture Research Institute.

Reserve a place on this course (northern node 13)

This is a unique PDC programme, running in advance of IPC12. It aims to showcase life in the fascinating and diverse landscapes of northern Britain, while studying permaculture design in a variety of settings. In addition to exploring landscape and cultivation, we will see examples of low-energy approaches to new and re-purposed buildings. We also have to opportunity to explore how people can work together to meet the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead of us, whatever part of the world we may live in.

This is a state-of-the art PDC run by highly experienced design practitioners. The course concentrates on design skill, organisation and enterprise. The lead instructors are Dan Halsey of SouthWoods Permaculture, Minnesota, and Angus Soutar of the Northern School of Permaculture based here in Manchester in the North of England. Both Dan and Angus are accredited by the Permaculture Research Institute and between them they have a wealth of design experience in urban and rural settings across many climate zones.



The course will be run at a series of venues, allowing touring and visits to be included, all the way from the stunning natural beauty of upland Scotland to the post-industrial heartland of Manchester. Read more about venues.



Additional programme

You will be welcome to participate in other parts of our summer programme, including a two day conference on Permaculture Design for Regional Development to be held at our Manchester venue on the weekend of 5th and 6th September 2015, and also in additional site tours on 5th September. Read more

Accommodation and Travel

If you book for the PDC, all accommodation for the duration of the course is included in the fees. This includes hostel-style accommodation in shared bedrooms. (Accommodation upgrades may be available at an additional cost). The Northern School can provide you with information for further bookings for our additional events.

It is our intention to assist you with your travel plans within the UK during your stay here. We will also attempt to signpost you to places where you can stay along the kines of HelpX or an internship basis, outside of our programmes.


The inclusive fee for the PDC is GBPounds 990. We will ask for a deposit of GBP200 to confirm your place in advance of the course.


Further information

Reserve a place on this course (northern node 13)

e-mail us for further information

The Northern School is working in association with SouthWoods Permaculture in the USA and with CommEnt CIC and Common Resource in the UK to deliver this course.

The Nest


The Nest is on the ground floor of Chorleian House, just outside Chorley Town Centre. It is within walking distance of the railway and bus stations in Chorley.




The Nest provides a calming and private space to explore health and well-being, the arts and culture. It has already hosted a successful permaculture design courses run by the Northern School of Permaculture.




Directions are as for Chorleian House, entrance is via the front door.


Back to Permaculture Design Course at The Nest


Courses and Events - Listings


These are our courses and events that are due to start soon. For more details of the types of course we run, visit our course information pages.



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