Courses at Drimlabarra Herb Farm

Learning Menu

You can select any subject on our learning menu and we can provide a course tailor made to your requirements. Courses are a minimum of 2 hours long, are priced at £30/hour and can be for individual tuition or for groups up to 6 persons. The minimum fee of £60 can be divided among participants down to a minimum of £10 per person. Contact us to arrange a suitable time for your visit or browse the learning menu

Herbal Practical Pharmacy

Harvest and make your own preparations on site. Learn the correct times for herb harvesting and how to prepare:

  • Herb drying and infusions
  • Creams
  • Ointments
  • Tinctures
  • Flower essences
  • Infused herbal oils
  • Glycerols
  • Poultices
  • Syrups and more…

All materials and relevant containers provided.

Herb Identification and Ethnobotany

Using the practical and entertaining resource of herb walks provides the opportunity to get intimate with plants! Taste, smell, texture and colour inform us of medicinal qualities of herbs via the pharmacology of taste – the scientific technology of our taste buds and our other senses. The relevance of basic plant botany and chemistry gives another angle to our interacting with Nature.

Herb Walks

Guided herb walk around the farm, free vegan food and herb tea tasting.

Stockfree Growing on the Job Training (in association with VON)

Come and learn traditional growing techniques including mulching, green manures and liquid feeds to grow delicious vibrant food and not an animal harmed or inconvenienced along the way.

Soft Fruit Growing

Native apple, plum, and damson.

Vegan Nutrition

Sourcing the best foods for optimum nutrition. Keith has been teaching and researching nutrition for over 20 years.

Vegan Cooking Courses

An introduction to quick and easy recipes from raw food cake making and sprouting for vitalistic greens to home made haggis and ravioli!

Naturopathic Detoxification

Using seasonally available herbs, foods and cleansing practices, we are more able to tune into how our bodies respond to changes in the seasons of the year and seasons of our lives. Learn how to make and apply:

  • Green smoothies
  • Castor oil packing
  • Ginger kidney poultices
  • Skin brushing etc
  • Introduction to fasting
  • Self massage and use of essential oils

Life Sciences

We all have questions about how our body and the natural world actually works. Here is a chance to have your individual questions satisfactorily explained by tutors with a real depth of knowledge and a practical approach to helping your understanding. Keith even pioneered the teaching technique of ‘dancing the physiology’.

Natural Childbirth

Introducing Traditional practices and herbal approach to empower women wanting a woman-centred birthing experience.

History of Medicine

A fascinating walk through the political, cultural, spiritual and scientific journey of medicine.


Setting Herbal Medicine within its proper and traditional context.

Celtic Mythology

The basis of Celtic Nature festivals celebrated in ceremonies to honour the seasons of the year and the elemental world.

Musical Exploration

Separate or combined courses to include:

  • Guitar
  • Singing
  • Bouzouki
  • Bass
  • Double Bass
  • Recorder
  • Basic Piano

The Works of Robert Burns

Learn to sing, play or recite the Poems, Songs, Ballads and Politics of the Internationalist Robert Burns, Scotland’s much loved Bard.

Alternative and Renewable Energy

Learn about:

  • Heat pumps – ground and air source
  • Solar panels
  • Wood fuels
  • Biofuels

Alternative Building Structures

Practical introduction to: building reciprocal roofs and alternative ways of building structures including yurts, canvas preparation, compost toilets, solar showers; dry stone walling. Practical demonstrations provided. Individual requirements discussed.

Geology of Arran

Applying the holistic Goethean approach, view landscape from an alternative angle to gain a full historic, cultural and personal overview.

Useful Links

Plant studyMaking medicinesLeaf sequenceInhalationStudentsAleppo pines

“What we need to learn, we learn by doing” ~ Aristotle

Our great passion for the Contemplative Goethean Science approach to plant study has grown out of our love affair with plants over the past 30 years. By looking at both the objective and subjective elements involved in this way of seeing inspired by Goethe, participants are not only experiencing art in conversation with Nature but are truly listening to Her through the plant, themselves and the group.

We use a reproducible 7 step Goethean Science method to guide us towards discovering the gesture of the plant, its qualities and how these could be best prepared as an individual herbal medicine to serve a constitutional imbalance in a particular person. (See individual consultations section for more detailed information of the 7 steps.)

What to expect

The plant study workshops require a minimum of 2 days to move through this inspirational process. We are interacting in the elemental world and expect participants to come prepared for all weathers. Warning – you may experience some mind blowing shifts as part of this inspirational internal and external process! You may also be pleasantly surprised at how far your artistic and creative skills will serve you. For more details and reports from previous studies please see the library, and for dates of workshops see the calendar.

See also what our Course participants say

Doing a plant study on the Isle of Arran with Keith and Maureen is an experience every plant lover should have. It’s like having your eyes cleaned, you can see deeper and clearer, meeting a new dimension to the plant you are observing by opening your heart as well as your eyes. I came away from Arran having met Hemp agrimony knowing that this holistic form of scientific plant study is something that has connected with me on a deep level and is now part of my life. ~ Julia Thompson, final year herbal student

Being at Drimlabarra farm was especially wonderful, with the glorious Calendula growing in abundance there. ~ Daisy Mae, Medical Herbalist

Goethean phenomenology, even when comprehended theoretically is something which must be done to be properly understood. The plant study weekend I attended was a fascinating introduction into the practical aspect of this kind of work, which demonstrated both the rigor that the method demands and the fascinating botanical [and magickal] vistas that it is capable of disclosing. ~ Graham Freestone, Lincoln University Librarian and BSc Herbal Medicine student

The Avalach Centre for Plant Study (Drimlabarra Herb Farm) provides the opportunity to study plants using contemplative, or Goethean, science, a method which is both creative and profoundly illuminating. As Goethe said, ‘the senses do not deceive’ (Naydler), so by enhancing our perceptive skills, the art of seeing, we are able to deepen our understanding of the natural world on many levels. With years of experience in plant studies, Keith and Maureen have great expertise as facilitators, and each unique study is an enriching pleasure. Highly recommended! ~ Lorraine Wood Dip Phyt. MSc MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

All text and visuals copyright © M & K Robertson/Drimlabarra Herb Farm