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Here at Lackan Cottage Farm people often say we are living the good life. We grow our own food and wood fuel, generate our own electricity, take responsibility for our own waste, harvest rainwater and are using natural building techniques. Additionally we help other people to do the same, and welcome visitors and volunteers here to the farm to stay and learn about what we have to offer.

Some new websites

In a previous life, I was a partner in a website development company, and as well as building our own website, I still keep my hand in by developing sites for other people when I feel we share a similar ethos

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Managing horses on a small acreage

As part of our overall planning for Lackan, and as one of the designs on my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, I’m looking at how we can better integrate horses into a permaculture design. Not an easy task, as creating closed loops on a relatively small area of land means considering winter forage and bedding, both of which are never going to be completely met from the land but which can be supplemented, in the form of gorse and rushes. Both of which people have spent 150 years eradicating from the land here. Our horses do however provide a hugely valuable resource – manure, which feeds our vegetables incredibly well.

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Give the gift of cosy this Christmas

If you're looking for something different to give as a gift this Christmas, how about a stay at Birch Eco Cottage or the Off Grid Horsebox. Our gift vouchers come in £25, £50, £75 and £100 amounts and can be used as part of all of a booking at Birch Eco Cottage or the...

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Why green tourism is about so much more than travel

Green Tourism, Eco Tourism, Ethical Tourism – all these are increasingly popular terms, as awareness of the need for more environmentally aware accommodation and travel is gradually making its way into the mainstream. Of course, the availability of cheap air travel, and our love of fossil fuel powered transport in general have contributed significantly to the position we now find ourselves in. One where climate change is poised to reach a tipping point from which there is little chance of recovery. Despite this,it is vital to encourage as many people as possible to make changes to their behaviour, and green tourism has its part to play.

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Water independence

Here in Northern Ireland we are fortunate to have a water supply that is generally reliable and clean. Our own water isn't fluoridated, but it has been chlorinated to some extent, to kill bacteria, and it is reliant on the national grid to keep pumps (and thus the...

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LAND centre pioneers

We’re really pleased to have become the first Permaculture LAND centre in Northern Ireland. The LAND (Learning And Network Demonstration) network was set up by Permaculture UK to certify projects that demonstrate permaculture. Scotland and Wales have set up their own networks. Permaculture Ireland encompasses all of the island of Ireland but as we have no formal organisation, the folk at Permaculture UK are working with us, by allowing the use of their application criteria.

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Something different for Christmas

This Christmas, why not give someone the gift of a stay at our Four Star cottage Birch Eco Cottage or the Off Grid Horse Box. Our accommodation vouchers are available in £25, £50, £75 and £100, and can be redeemed against any stay in our accommodation in 2018 or 2019.

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Autumn wines

So far this year we've made wine from elderflowers, gorse, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries, and rhubarb. Now that autumn is here, we have a new selection of crops from which to conjure wines. Although most of our peaches were made into jam, enough were saved...

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Limewashing and a barn repair

October was a busy month at Lackan, tackling all the regular jobs that we've been putting off too long. The cottages have been limewashed, repairs made to flashings and everything made generally weatherproof. Three years after we bought the lime-hemp plaster, the last...

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Reflections on the permaculture design course

Although I’ve been involved with permaculture for nearly a decade now, and on site here at Lackan for six years, practising permaculture on a daily basis, I had never done my PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate). When I was offered the chance to do a PDC at Carraig Dulra in Wicklow, led by friends Suzie Cahn and Hannah Mole, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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Wedding dress seeks bride to be

Visitors to Birch Eco Cottage occasionally leave small items behind intentionally. Usually because they are travelling on and don't have room in their luggage. We were surprised then, to find that newlyweds from Vermont,  Marianne and Derreck had decided to leave...

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The magical Mournes

We went off up the coast to Killough to a plant swap event this weekend, an on the way home discovered one of our favourite views ever of the Mournes.  The A2 from Killough to Clough is surely one of the most picturesque routes we’ve been on and is definitely a trip we’d recommend to visitors, especially if they are visiting Castle Ward

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A look from above

It is always fascinating to take a look at the farm from a different viewpoint, and this drone footage does that perfectly. In the middle of one of the driest periods on record, our forest gardens and woodland are holding up really well, in contrast to the pasture around them. Thanks to Danny for filming for us – we’re planning our next phase of forest garden, and being able to see the land from the air is invaluable.

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A taste of Lackan Cottage Farm permaculture smallholding

We made a short film about the farm which gives a flavour of the place. There was so much we wanted to include but it’d get long so they’ll be in another. Enjoy 🙂 If there is some aspect of what we do here that you’d like to hear more about, let us know and we’ll come up with something.

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Early summer in the tunnels

This growing season was slow to get going, even in the polytunnels, but after all the warm weather, it’s all growing like mad. Today we’re having a look round with Claire at what is coming on in the tunnels. We’re new to this film making thing so bear with us.

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We’re running a competition!

All this week we are running a competition to win a 2 night stay in Birch Eco Cottage. All we are doing is asking you to like (and sharing too would be great) the competition post that you will find on our facebook page. In order that we can easily contact the winner, please also like our Birch Eco Cottage Facebook page. Click here to like the post.

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A walk in the woods

A brief stroll around the beautiful woodland here at Lackan Cottage Farm, which was once bog, and has been cut over for peat. The birch trees are natural regrowth on the old bog, which has dried out significantly as a result of surrounding drainage and the trees themselves. It’s a beautiful place, full of life, and one of few pockets of such woodland in the landscape. 

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Book your stay in the off grid horse box

Why not unplug and unwind on a stay in our unique converted horse truck. Refurbished using reclaimed materials, this cosy space enjoys great views of the Mourne Mountains and is tucked away on a corner of our off grid smallholding in the County Down countryside. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, that is truly off the grid then the horsebox is for you. We are offering you the chance to get an additional 10% off the cost of your stay, by quoting the offer code WEB1 when you book direct. Visit https://lackancottage.co.uk/book-stay-off-grid-horsebox/ to check availability and book now.

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Summer abundance

For months there, it seemed like winter would never end. The longest, wettest most miserable winter in memory for many. But now here we are at the start of June and all that is a distant memory – the heatwave has arrived, and once again water is very much on our minds but for a very different reason.

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