After living and working in London for 15yrs, I started to crave the countryside, nature and quieter surroundings. The idea of moving away from the city back to my grass roots was something that wouldn't go away. I love cycling and walking and over time I decided I would like to create something for those who cycle and walk and to help encourage people to get out into the countryside by foot or bicycle and enjoy the great outdoors. There are so many benefits to being outside.
Our health is hugely important and we can all do things to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of these things is walking, which is free, second is cycling and although a bicycle costs money there are options available. You don't always need the newest model or latest gear.
I am extremely fortunate to have grown up on a family farm, which when you're a child you don't fully appreciate but looking back I know how lucky I have been and I can't thank my parents enough and past generations, who have kept the farm alive.
Over the years the farm, has had to diversify and when one of the buildings became available it was all go. Rob and I started the task of converting the barn into a public space. This project required us to apply for change of use and LBC which entailed a lengthly process with numerous surveys (bat survey, topographical survey, traffic survey, ecological survey) and we couldn't have obtained these without, Phillips Planning Services Ltd, Prime Environment, Aecom & Richard Beaty (Building Design) Limited. Then we had the internal design & fit out, level access, and to obtain our Food Hygiene rating.
During the renovation, we would drive back from London after work on Fridays, work on the barn and then drive back to the city on Sunday night. After a couple of months we realised this was unsustainable and we needed to be closer. We then made the move back to the shire.
My dream soon became 'our dream', with blood, sweat and tears thrown into the mix.
Whilst I kept my job in London, Rob gave his notice in at Lee Valley Velodrome and worked tirelessly, converting the barn into what it is today.
I owe massive thanks to Rob for his unwavering support and determination and my parents whom without it would not have been possible and to all our family and friends for their support.
After four years of living and breathing the barn, we were so happy to finally open the doors on the 3rd December 2022 and share the space with you.