A Beginner’s Guide to Organic Smallholding | 13 July 2024 | Bookings Open

A Beginner’s Guide to Organic* Smallholding

“For anyone considering a smallholding or simply for anyone who is interested in animals, food and the countryside, this course hits the spot!” Niki, course participant from Cheshire.

Colin and Deborah moved from Glasgow to The Lint Mill in 2009 in search of a life that offered more simplicity, self-sufficiency and a deeper connection to the land. Fourteen years on, they would like to share that journey and the things they’ve learned on the way with you.

This course is a broad based introduction to many of the aspects you might consider when setting up an organic smallholding.

You can find a short film about us here.

Saturday 13 July, 9.30am to 5pm

Where:  The Lint Mill Organic Smallholding

Cost:  £95 (this includes coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and full resource pack)

Booking a Place: To book your place, please email us at courses@thelintmill.co.uk for availability

9.30 – 10am                  Coffee and Welcome

10 – 10.45am                Finding your Perfect Smallholding

This first session will focus on finding the perfect plot, where to look, how to assess the land, registering your smallholding, obtaining your CPH number, planning the scale of your set-up, considering the acreage, what approaches to use e.g. organic, permaculture, biodynamic.

10.45 – 11.30am           Starting your Laying Flock of Hens

Out in the poultry pen you will meet our laying flock of rare breed Scots Grey hens, learn about housing, feeding, keeping your flock healthy and common diseases, egg production and farm gate sales.

11.30 – 12.15pm           Managing the Land

We will walk the 14 acres of The Lint Mill discussing grassland management, fencing and hedging, biodiversity to encourage wildlife, and the organic management of weeds.

12.15 – 1pm                  Growing your own Food

This session will be based in the polytunnel and the kitchen garden and will cover planning your kitchen garden, crop rotation, how to deal with the ‘hungry gap’ and of course composting.

1 – 2pm                        Lunch – a delicious organic lunch made from all our own produce

Lunch is a great way to sample the produce from The Lint Mill and will feature our home reared meat, seasonal fruit and vegetables. We can cater for vegetarians, vegans and food intolerances – please let us know when you book.

2 – 2.45pm                   Keeping Goats for Dairy

You will meet our beautiful herd of rare breed Golden Guernsey goats and British Alpines. You will see our lactating goats being milked and you will learn the basics about housing, feeding and keeping goats happy and healthy.

2.45 – 3.30pm               Pig Keeping for Beginners

Meet our rare breed Oxford Sandy and Black pigs. You will find out about our pig pen rotation, housing, feeding, rearing for pork and rearing for bacon, basic health issues and legislation surrounding pig movement.

3.30 – 4pm                    Beginning a Starter Flock of Sheep

An introduction to our rare breed Soay flock. We will cover the basics of feeding, management; worming, trimming feet, protecting from blowfly strike, how to deal with the fleece, how to rear sheep for meat.

4.15 – 5pm                   Q&A Session over Afternoon Tea with homemade scones


What to wear:

The weather can be chilly and wet even in summer in Scotland, so come prepared. We will be working outdoors for most of the day so wellies, a waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers would be essential. A change of footwear for indoors. Sun cream and a hat if the weather is summer-like!

What to bring:

You might find a notebook useful but we will provide you with a lovely resource pack containing information on all the topics we have covered to take away at the end of the day. You are welcome to take photographs throughout the day.

*The Lint Mill is an organic smallholding certified by the Soil Association and most of our animals are rare breeds. Throughout the day you will learn why these things are important to us and how they influence the way we do things here.

We deliberately keep the numbers attending the course small – a maximum of 6 people – to enable everyone to get the best out of the day and to have plenty of opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with our livestock and to learn through the conversations we will have together.

About Us

Colin runs the smallholding. He grows all our fruit and vegetables and manages the livestock. He is an excellent chef and baker (he trained with Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters) and he prides himself on preparing delicious meals using all our own produce. Colin spent most of his salaried working life in finance and arts management in the city before ‘escaping to the country’. Colin has valued returning to a life he remembers from his childhood on his uncle’s farm in Wiltshire.

Deborah is a former Professor in arts education but now works full-time on the smallholding alongside Colin. She is responsible for the admin, marketing and photography, and writing about life on a smallholding. She is a trained Natural Change Facilitator and runs workshops to enable others to experience themselves as part of nature and to live more sustainably.

About The Lint Mill

The Lint Mill is delightful, traditional organic smallholding farm located between Edinburgh & Glasgow in the rolling countryside of Scotland’s Southern Uplands. We aim to be self-sufficient, eco-friendly & sustainable. We are certified organic with the Soil Association and we have a Green Tourism Gold Award. We also offer 4* Gold B&B accommodation.

As organic smallholders, sustainability and self-sufficiency really matter to us. The Lint Mill is a place that encourages you to notice things…the changing of the seasons, the cycles of nature, the sound of birdsong. We are aware of the beauty and fragile nature of our landscape and so we always try to pass on to our visitors the necessary information to help us protect and enhance this environment and to respect our land.

Booking a Place

To book your place, please email us for availability at courses@thelintmill.co.uk, then you can make your payment of £95 in the following way: 

By Bank Transfer

The bank details (UK) are:

Account holder: Deborah Richardson-Webb trading as The Lint Mill

Account number: 54814606

UK sort code: 04-00-03

Bank: Monzo Business

By PayPal

The PayPal details are: paypal.me/thelintmill

When using Paypal please click on ‘I‘m sending money to family or friends’ to avoid charges when you use your PayPal account, bank account or your debit card to send money.

By Cheque

Please make your cheque payable to Ms D Richardson-Webb and post it to The Lint Mill, Carnwath, South Lanarkshire, ML11 8LY

Please email us on info@thelintmill.co.uk providing the following information: Name, contact number, email address and dietary requirements.


We also run a 4*, Green Tourism Gold B&B at The Lint Mill for those travelling from further afield. We can accommodate one couple or three friends who wouldn’t mind sharing.

For those booking accommodation with us, there is a 10% discount on the cost of the course.

Cancellation Policy

We would only cancel your booking if the course does not meet its minimum number to run. We would however attempt to offer you an alternative future date. If this was not possible, or unacceptable to you, then we would refund all monies paid by you. Our liability would not extend beyond this refund. Due to our small business, we reserve the right to make a full charge for cancellations made within 14 days of the course date. This charge will only apply if we are unable to sell your place on the course.