As we build our daily itineraries for the Bioregional Learning Journey, here’s a sense of the terrain we’ll be covering…

River (Day 1)

Farming, soil and collaboration Three farms in the Dartington area are pioneering models of producing food that focus on the grains, vegetables and fruit we will need for a climate resilient diet. But that is not all they are doing: Dartington Hall Trust is currently making the first UK river charter that involves local people in water management; Huxhams Cross Farm is bringing back heritage grains and is a partner in setting up a new mill; Riverford is pioneering employee ownership of their business. Photo: Riverford

City (Day 2)

Energy, physical and mental health and food Health professionals are increasingly vocal about the likely impacts that climate change will have on human physical and mental health. There is also hopeful evidence on the way in which climate solutions like growing food in community, or taking care of eco-systems benefits mental health. The Union Corner shop in Stonehouse, Plymouth, was derelict for 20 years, but now it’s a ‘community house-share’ with a garden that hosts events, activities, tests business ideas for Union Street. We will meet health professionals as well as the linked projects of Food Plymouth (Plymouth is a Sustainable Food City) and Plymouth Energy Community that uses a local investment model. Image: Research+Design

Moor (Day 3)

Water, upland farming, tourism and biodiversity Both the storage and distribution of water for drinking by humans and animals is under climate stress. Venford Reservoir sits on the ‘water tower’ of Dartmoor and is run by SW Water who will show us around. How significant are the leaks from the 18th Century Devonport Leat that brings water to Plymouth? Brimpts Farm is a Duchy Farm that is also a member of the Dartmoor Farmers Association that will host our lunch. Brimpts has diversified into wood chip (for renewable fuel) and moor meadows (for biodiversity). We hope to be joined by Dartmoor National Park. Photo: CC Herby.

Coast (Day 5)

Fishing, the arts and public infrastructure Brixham Port’s catch-value has almost doubled in recent years (to £40m in 2017 according to Devon Live), mostly on the back of a booming cuttlefish fishery. The fish market is thriving because of the ability to move fast and to transport the fish within hours from port to end destination. Torbay has a vibrant cultural programme and has also experienced how a breach of the sea wall can disrupt public infrastructure from schools to the hospital. 


Experience first-hand how South Devon is building climate resilience

9-14 September, 2019

What might a joined-up climate resilience strategy for South Devon look like? What would make this place more resilient, who’s making change happen and where are the nodes, links, and ‘leverage points’? What’s the role of surprising events? Travelling around the bioregion, you’ll meet do-ers… policy makers, academic researchers, river scientists, shell fishers, farmers, landowners, health experts, community innovators and ‘new radicals’.

Download the Bioregional Learning Journey Programme as a PDF – DOWNLOAD HERE

We’ll be learning collectively, as a group of ‘detectives’ and as individuals, mapping for resilience as we go. We’ll look at how resilient South Devon is now and how that could be measured. Learning from local experience, we will hear how climate change is already having an impact and what responses are being demanded of us. Every sector and each place is facing many challenges. At the end of each day’s programme we will reflect on how the challenges connect up and how visible they are to people.

You can come for one day, or more, or for the whole six days. The Water Resilience Summit on the Thursday is free to all. The forward planning session on Saturday morning is free if you book for any days of the journey. We have 25 places for each day and are holding allocations for policy makers, funders, community groups, academics and those working in public and private sectors.

What’s the pace of a typical 9am-6pm day?
• Gather after breakfast in Totnes
• ‘Bob the Bus’ transports us to our destinations
• Meet people on the ground ‘keeping the lights on’
• Meet innovators who are nurturing the green shoots of resilience
• Meet systems thinkers who have an eye on the emerging future
• Gather again to reflect and share learning that you will take away and apply
• Enjoy delicious, locally-sourced food for lunch and (optional) dinner

What you might expect to learn
• How working at the scale of a bioregion (South Devon) makes human organising simpler and more powerful
• What systems leadership for climate resilience asks of us
• The art of carrying a personal question and a group question as enquiry that leads into action
• Zooming out to the bigger picture and back into the fine detail of what we encounter
• Insights that you can take back and share with your colleagues

Who’s leading the learning?
• Isabel Carlisle of the Bioregional Learning Centre
• Glenn Page of the Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning and Transformation in Maine, USA. 

Cost options: £90 per day (includes lunch and transport) OR £120 per day (includes lunch, transport and dinner with the team).

Anyone who comes on any day of the journey is welcome to attend the free Saturday morning session.

***There is also a SPECIAL PRICE for the full package of all 5.5 days of the Learning Journey experience – please get in touch for full details***

Programme timing: 9.30am to 6:00pm each day.

To find out more information please contact Isabel Carlisle at the BLC: 

Image above: Section of Richard Long’s Pelopennese Line (2017), a 60m-long wall-work made with river mud.

Learning Journey Activities

  • Co-create a timeline with Glenn Page, our bioregional colleague from Maine USA, on human responses to local eco-system change; learning from the past in order to inform the future
  • Attend the Water Resilience Summit led by our partners Westcountry Rivers Trust
  • ****Postponed*** the Totnes Conversation Café on the actions coming from civil society
  • The last morning (Saturday 14th) is a co-design workshop that pulls all the learning together into a resilience strategy for South Devon.

This is a journey into long-term climate resilience. We know that engaging with all the aspects of our lives likely to be impacted by climate change can be overwhelming. So this small first step is grounded in place and the practical challenges of human and ecological wellbeing. It comes at a time when climate scientists are issuing ever stronger warnings that we need to wake up, take action now and plan ahead.

The hands of a Dartmoor farmer

Where does your dinking water come from?

The human interface with nature

Gift from a single orchard in Chudleigh