Students on Black Mountains College Regenerative Gardening Course

In Partnership with NPTC Group of Colleges

1 academic year, full-time

Locations available: Talgarth (Troed-yr-Harn Farm & other locations nearby including Gwernyfed Walled Garden and Ty Mawr) OR Treherbert, Treorchy.

This practical course encompasses organic, permaculture and no-dig principles, which work in harmony with nature for a sustainable future. The practical outdoor learning is backed up with classroom theory covering botany, soil science, food production, and ornamental horticulture.

What will I learn?

This course is ideal for students who want to further their experience of working in horticulture to increase their ability and confidence. You will study in beautiful, real-life training settings, within the Welsh Black Mountains.

Modules covered include the following, each will have a particular focus on sustainability:

  • Assess soil texture & condition
  • Prepare ground or area for planting
  • Apply fertilisers to plants
  • Plant out plants in rows by hand
  • Propagate plants indoors from seed
  • Sow seeds outdoors by hand
  • Propagate plants by stem cuttings
  • Propagate by grafting
  • Identify damage caused by plant pests
  • Identify weeds (Talgarth ONLY)
  • Identify trees and shrubs (Talgarth ONLY)
  • Train and prune fruit trees (Talgarth ONLY)
  • Prune deciduous spring-flowering shrubs (Talgarth ONLY)
  • Produce a planting plan (Treherbert ONLY)
  • Carry out a site survey in 2-dimensions (Treherbert ONLY)
  • Care for a planted area (Treherbert ONLY)

These modules are only part of the picture. Our emphasis is on sustainability and ecology, so you will also learn about the soil biome – the crucial importance of soil ecology and the reasoning for the need to use no-dig techniques (biomimicry) to protect and enhance that environment. We delve into permaculture and keyline design, agroforestry, organic principles, and four-season vegetable production. We even skim over some of the basics of plant science (plant evolution, role of hormones, morphology, etc.). These aspects are not assessed but they are the foundations for good practice and also key in helping us solve some aspects of the climate problem by aiding the land to lock in more carbon.

Modules will differ slightly depending on your chosen campus (Talgarth or Treherbert)

Why study Regenerative Horticulture?

The BMC Level 2 in Regenerative Horticulture will give you the skills you need to pursue a sustainable and rewarding career.

After this course, students may be able to:

  • Move into Level 3 Practical Horticulture
  • Start a career as a self-employed or salaried gardener or landscaper/garden designer
  • Set up or work in a market garden or plant nursery, or work in parks/green spaces
  • Find work in plant science & technology, or go down the route of a horticultural teaching assistant or technician yourself!
  • Use this qualification towards entry to the BMC undergraduate course
  • Move on to other higher education courses such as Garden Design, Plant Science, Ethno Botany, Agriscience or Arboriculture

Why study at BMC?

  • Course tutors, Alice Weston and Rashid Benoy, have extensive experience from a broad spectrum of commercial horticulture, bringing innovative techniques and unique knowledge.
  • The course takes place in unique learning environments in both locations.
  • Students without the necessary grades (grade 4/ C or above) will get additional teaching and support to study for GCSE English and maths.
  • Alongside the Regenerative Horticulture, students will undertake the BMC Core sessions, which are 1-day per week and incorporate eco-literacy, climate literacy, aspects surrounding our environment, ecology, sustainability, as well as exploring topics such as food, water, and transport. This is an innovative programme, supporting students’ development and understanding and career opportunities in the context of an urgent climate crisis.
  • Your learning experience within our BMC Core Sessions will be supplemented with various activities, day trips, guest lectures, and a project of your choice.
  • BMC’s learning model, applied across all courses, integrates the head, hands and heart, multi-sensory protocols, outdoor learning and multiple hierarchies of knowledge or ways of knowing.

What will I do within the BMC Core Sessions?

Alongside the NVQ, students will participate in unique and innovative Core modules, covering real-life skills, supplemented with educational trips, guest speakers, outdoor learning, and practical experiences. These Core Sessions are an integral part of your chosen NVQ.  In this part of the course students will investigate these topics:

  • Water
  • Energy
  • Money – circular economy
  • Food systems
  • Farming, agriculture, and soil
  • Conservation and ecology
  • Sustainability
  • Work on a chosen project to help you gain additional skills to support your chosen NVQ.

How much does it cost?

Our Level 2 NVQs in Regenerative Horticulture and Coppicing & Greenwood Trades are fully funded for over 16’s who are UK residents with no upper age limit. You do not need to repay any tuition fees, our NVQs are completely free!

We never want money to be a barrier to your education – there are also a lot of options available to support you with living costs whilst you study! Visit our Further Education Student Finance page for more information on what you could be entitled to during your studies.

Additional costs for Regenerative Horticulture: Sturdy wellies and secateurs. £50 approx.

You will have the option to purchase these yourself, apply for a grant from us or borrow them from BMC.

Further Education Student Finance Information >

What are the study hours?

Regenerative Horticulture is classed full-time, but the contact time required is 3 full days a week. There is an element of self-guided learning too.

Lessons will run on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Talgarth

Lessons will run on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in Treherbert

Lessons are all 9am – 3pm

Course Length: 1-year from the beginning of September until the start of July.

Locations: Talgarth, Powys, OR Treherbert, RCT.

What are the entry requirements?

There are minimal entry requirements, although you will need to have gained a Grade C/4 in Maths and English GCSE by the end of the course if you have not done so already, and we can help you with that. You will need to complete an application form and complete a short interview showing your passion for the course and your potential.

Minimum age: 16 years. There is no upper age limit!

How will I be assessed?

You will produce a portfolio of evidence throughout the year. You will generally be assessed via observations of your practical work, and monitoring of your portfolio. Some assessments may be in the form of a brief oral test, and some of your worksheets may be used for assessment purposes.

How to apply

Complete and submit an application form.

2023-24 applications are NOW CLOSED but you can register your interest for a 2024 start!


If you’d like to ask us any questions, join one of our taster sessions or arrange to have a chat with the tutor, email us.

*Known as Practical Horticulture (C&G)

Courses are subject to change without notice

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