About our place

We are Black Isle Permaculture & Arts (BIPA), a Permaculture smallholding and business on the Black Isle, 13km north of Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. Run by Clive and Julie, we offer eco tourist accomodation, courses, workshops and volunteering opportunities covering a variety of topics focusing on sustainable living, such as Permaculture design, organic food growing and preserving.

What is our Permaculture smallholding

In August 2015 we  moved to a bungalow nestled in a 2.5 acre garden and woodland and are developing an organic Permaculture project for food, wood fuel, habitat, well-being, abundant foraging, leisure and education and livelihood.

We are a domestic micro-smallholding where we are able to live a creative, sustainable and resilient lifestyle by the Permaculture Principles of People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share: a place where people can visit, stay, learn from and be inspired by an example of an organic smallholding incorporating a home based economy and resilient business plan.

We have used Permaculture design to create a place where we can live in a harmonious ecological balance which provides us with many of our needs: food, a comfortable place to live, a livelihood, but also habitat for wildlife, and a place to share what we are learning. We have meadows, forest gardens, mixed woodland, a kitchen garden growing vegetables, salads, herbs, fruit, six free range hens and wild flowers to encourage insects and pollinators. We use organic and no dig methods to create healthy soil, working with closed loop systems so nothing is wasted, either through composting, wormeries, mulching, materials reusing and wood processing for fuel.

On-site, we have built a compost toilet and a Yurt for use during events and workshops, and two eco camping huts for guests wanting a sustainable, Permaculture inspired holiday. We have used natural and organic materials to eco renovate the bungalow and installed renewable energies such as solar PV, solar hot water and biomass heating, as well as energy efficiency measures to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint. We have an arts and crafts studio where we work to create artwork and handmade products.

We welcome visitors by appointment, and hold open days, courses and workshops throughout the year. In 2020 we aim to offer eco friendly holiday accommodation in our woodland camping huts. Please contact us if you’d like to visit or look out for details of events on this site.

What is a smallholding?

A smallholding is a residential site with more land than a garden, but less than a farm. The land is typically used for productive mixed crops including livestock and woodland management for fuel. Often there will be growing both for the needs of the residents (subsistence farming) and for cash crops.  The lines between garden, smallholding and farm are blurred but basically a smallholding is just a very small mixed farm – small being relative to the size of farms in that particular society. Crofts (Scotland) are smallholdings, although there is a legally-defined tenure for a croft, but not for a smallholding. Smallholdings can be comprised of families, individuals or communities, where people pool resources to hold land together. More info here


What is Permaculture?
Permaculture combines three key aspects:
1. An ethical framework
2. Understandings of how nature works
3. A design approach

Our design and vision is to create forest gardens, woodland and growing spaces that maximise habitat and diversity, along with a thriving and self-sustaining food-web, with multifunctional plants providing food, fuel, craft materials, income, and beauty.

We became a Permaculture ScotLAND  Learning And Network Demonstration (LAND) Centre in 2018 and are using our gardens as a space to show the possibilities of Permaculture on a domestic scale. ScotLAND Centres are excellent demonstrations of permaculture in action, with skill in applying permaculture. ScotLAND Centres have demonstrated their ability to explain their use of permaculture ethics and principles to visitors and volunteers and offer opportunities for learning.