Cheshire Smallholders Association


Training courses have traditionally been a mainstay of CSA activity, covering a range of subjects.  We have an association with Reaseheath Agricultural College that goes back many years and they run a range of courses that are of interest to smallholders and farmers alike.

At the time of writing (December 2021), Reaseheath are about to start delivering a dedicated Smallholding Course.  

If you have a smallholding, or would like to start one, this short course may be suitable for you. On the course you will learn about cattle tasks, hedge laying, fencing, drainage, soil types, sharpening tools, the no-dig method, successional sowing and planting, so you are well prepared to successfully look after a smallholding after just a few weeks of study with them.

As longstanding CSA members will know, this syllabus covers topics that have been popular inclusions in the mainstay of the CSA Reaseheath lecture series and training over the (pre-COVID!) years. It is very exciting to see Reaseheath bring their range of expertise together into a short course. There are no specific entry requirements and the course will run on three occasions in 2022:-

12th February – 19th March 2022

23rd April – 21st May 2022, and

11th June – 4th July 2022

The cost of the course is 250, for further information please contact Amanda Robinson at

In addition, Reaseheath are also running a course on Rural Business Administration.

If you are looking for the necessary knowledge and skills to be a successful and efficient rural business administrator, this is a course to consider. There are modules in farm assurance, legislation, grants and subsidies, record keeping, basic accounting, staff wages and personal records, marketing and social media, administration, Microsoft Office business software, customer / supplier relationships and auditing.

Again, there are no course entry requirements to join, it is primarily aimed at those within a rural business administration role or those aspiring to apply themselves in such roles in the future. This course will take place in Reaseheath's Agriculture department, between 27th January – 24th March 2022 at a cost of 300. For further information, again, please contact Amanda Robinson at

CSA continues to seek, organise and curate courses, lectures and tours for activities related to smallholdings,please do let us know what courses you would like in the future.
CSA's own courses are arranged when sufficient interest is expressed in individual training courses, please review the current course listing or contact us to book a place or for further information to be sent.

To help with the organisation of courses, we welcome any volunteers who can help with the ringing round organising of each course, if you are attending a course please consider giving a little time to help organise it, if it falls to the same few people each time that limits when and what we can organise. The CSA committee are all volunteers and time is sometimes scare with other commitments.

Chainsaw Use - This course last ran in June 2013.  If you are interested in registering for the next course please contact our us here.   The course aims to give students the basic practical skills to use a chainsaw safely.

Vets and Medicine - This course also took place in summer 2013 and will be run again subject to demand. We will aim to meet again with the vets from Rose Cottage Veterinary Practice. Click here if you are interested.

Pig Butchery - this course last ran in 2019, If you are interested in the next butchery course, please
contact us.

Lamb Butchery - The last one was an introductory lamb butchery course in February 2018. Please click here if you are interested.

Spinning - Dianne can give one and two day courses on spinning wool using her own Jacob's fleece.  Contact Dianne Hall on 01829 760348 for more information.

Beekeeping - Due to the small number of people that could attend the last course we offered, we tend to refer enquiries to the local beekeeping associations. There is an active local association - please see British Beekeepers for details.

Reaseheath - Reaseheath run a variety of other courses in addition to those listed above that may be of interest to smallholders.  See the Reaseheath website for details.

Dry Stone Walling - See The Dry Stone Walling Association of GB for details of their courses. The Cheshire contact is secretary Mrs. Delia Davies, 0161 338 3537, after 6pm.

Smallholders and Animal Health and Welfare - Defra prepared this report with input from the Cheshire Smallholders Association in 2016.

Open Defra report here

The Shepherds Diary - Sue and Mike Shimwell have prepared the diary with support from Tony Moore and other members of the CSA. It is designed to act as an aid when planning your sheep activities for the year and is not a substitute for proper training. Please feel free to use it for non commercial use with all the usual caveats about not following it blindly. If you want to use it commercially or have other queries you will need to email enquiries.

Open Shepherds' Diary here