Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Post-PDC Practical Courses

A PDC (Permaculture Design Course) is mainly the theory. The foundation. And although the course features daily practical sessions, it doesn’t pretend to equip people with the range of practical skills they’ll need to implement permaculture designs. Enter the POST-PDC PRACTICAL COURSE!

While all this knowledge and enthusiasm is fresh, this is a chance to put some of it into practice with support and supervision.

Sometimes permaculture graduates without a background in working on the land can end up feeling paralysed, not knowing where to start, or end up taking a second or third PDC in an attempt to find what they’re missing. This course aims to help ease people into grounding their knowledge and feeling comfortable with designing with Nature.

The quinta is still very much a work in progress. Many areas have not been developed to their full extent yet. Others were badly fire-damaged so we’re as good as back to square one with them.

The design exercises for the PDC will be based on some of these parts of the quinta. At the end of the course, we will vote on what we think is the design or part-design we’d all like to implement (materials availability permitting) for this course.

That very specific criterion ensures we run with a project which everyone is enthusiastic about and which is an achievable target for a week’s work.

Whilst the aim is to help you ground your newly-acquired knowledge and maybe gain some new skills into the bargain, it’s also an opportunity to relax the pace a little after the intensity of the PDC, to enjoy each other’s companionship, the ambience of the quinta and its surroundings and the fun of simply getting creative together, and to dream of the possibilities this way of life offers. This education-by-assimmilation is no less of a valid and important process than all the brainwork. In some ways, perhaps more so …



Post-PDC Practical course at Quinta do Vale

Presenting the designs


The Post-PDC Practical course is open to all graduates of this year’s PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSES.

The course is also open to anyone else who’s taken a PDC and wants to benefit from some hands-on experience in a supportive environment. Please make sure you tell us where, when and with who you took your PDC on the registration form.

The particular challenges of this mountainside location mean the course is unsuitable for people with mobility issues and we don’t recommend you apply.


Wendy Howard will provide guidance, support and supervision for the implementation of the design, but in a mostly low key, hands-off manner to give you the freedom to work things out between you as a group. Unless the choice involves tuition in a specific technique, eg. natural building, in which case it becomes much more of a collaboration. The choice is yours!

As with the PDC itself, the Post-PDC Practical course will be taught in English.

Post-PDC Practical course at Quinta do Vale July 2021

Building the cob oven


The Post-PDC Practical courses run for a further week following each PDC, though the possibility exists to stay on longer if you really want to get stuck in.

We work Monday to Friday. Weekends are kept free for arrivals and departures and for exploring the area or enjoying the many other events and activities which go on here throughout the summer.



Building wattle and daub walls at Quinta do Vale

Wattling walls


Please see the Accommodation page for details.



At the end of the day, you can swim and relax at the river beach in the village below the quinta, take advantage of the free wifi at the open air café nearby, explore the area, meet the locals and other eco-residents, get involved in Benfeita events and generally experience life off grid in a still-beautiful mountain landscape, even though it was decimated by fires in October 2017.

Post-PDC Practical course at Quinta do Vale July 2021

Learning dry-stone walling


€300 camping (please bring your own tent or camper van). The deposit payable at the time of registration is €60. The balance will be due on arrival.

Caravan supplement is €100/week. The rate for the caravan is the total rate and is the same regardless of whether 1, 2 or 3 people occupy it. The deposit is €15/week, also payable at registration, with the balance payable on arrival. (See Accommodation for more details.)

Prices include all meals and we share the cooking. Please be sure to let us know of any special dietary requirements on the registration form.



With respect to cancellations, the same conditions apply as for the PDC. If you have to cancel for any reason other than government-mandated restrictions on travel we will refund 75% of your deposit provided we can fill your place. The refund can only be made once we’ve done so. Should travel restrictions prevent you attending, we will refund your deposit in full.

We make learning opportunities and the facilities at the quinta available in good faith, but at your own risk. Accidents happen so please make sure you have adequate and appropriate health and travel insurance and are covered against injury to others as well as yourself.

Building ponds at Quinta do Vale

Building ponds

Getting to Quinta do Vale

If you’re joining the course as an existing PDC graduate and aren’t already on-site having taken the PDC immediately prior to it, then see the Getting here page.

Should you need to be collected from the nearest long-distance bus stop at Catraia de Mouronho, which is half an hour’s drive from the quinta, we ask for a contribution of 15€ per journey.



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