If you’ve been here before, you know my field is in Donegal where, I recently discovered, it rains about 1,600 to 1,800 mm a year. That means, without drainage, my land would be covered 4 or 5 feet deep, except for the fact that I am the proud owner of a fine sloping field, (up to 20% in spots) and the rain runs off, but the ground gets bloody wet too!!

Permaculture videos and books and talks all seem to spend lots of time on swales, hence Patrick Whitefield refers to them as something of a ‘Holy Cow’.

But in our wet climate in NW Ireland, they’re hardly appropriate. However, how much is enough, when it comes to water? If I put in drains, the water runs away. If I put in swales, too much water hangs around. How do I decide? I can imagine a high pond, catching run-off from the road and from my house and the cement drive opposite,  with an overflow arrangement into a lower pond perhaps, but is 2 ponds too much in 2/3rds of an acre (circa 2600 sq. metres)?

Problems, problems. Any suggestions, anyone?

While I have a problem, it’s good to have it discussed online. I’d appreciate any help I can get. Tll next time. Byeee.

Oh yeah, any suggestions for the best PDC around these islands? R

see Book Review “How to Makea Forest Garden” by PW


One thought on “Patrick Whitefield on Swales in temperate Ireland / UK

  1. darren pinkerton

    Hi, just found you through Facebook – bealtaine cottage – am too looking for PDC coming from south county antrim myself, so no help there I’m afraid. I have begun a journey with permaculture, initially with the garden 1/4 acre but have 7 acres to play with outside the house here, currently rented out to farmer as grazing/siliage. Just don’t know where to start on the larger project! Would be good to keep in touch, you tube etc is certainly useful and some great books out there – could spend a fortune, good luck anyway, Darren


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