Holyford was built by Jan’s great grandparents in the 1920’s.
Jan’s inspiration for smallholding came from many hours spent as a child in Devon, often in the company of his grandmother Angela, from whom he learned to fish, grow vegetables and identify different mushrooms. Later on Jan spent twelve years working with young people with a wide range of challenging behaviours or who were in Care. He made use of his interest in survival skills, watersports and music in this role. He is also a professional baroque musician, playing large bass stringed instruments, recording and touring both in the uk and further afield. He has 3 sons, Ben (22), Mark (20) and Finn (17) who all love watersports and music.
Caroline studied Ecology at Edinburgh University to fulfill her desire to understand more about nature. She then spent time living in Borneo on a coral reef conservation project, travelled New Zealand working on organic farms and lived on a solar-powered narrow boat in Oxford, working on a sustainable communities project. She has helped set up organic vegetable gardens in the local area at Park Farm (aka River Cottage HQ) and Trill Farm. She also designed and built the garden seating area at the River Cottage canteen in Axminster.
We met at the Magdalen project (www.themagdalenproject.org.uk) where Jan was leading bushcraft sessions for children and running the vegetable garden. Caroline came to volunteer for a week and ended up staying! There we ran a successful vegetable box scheme for the local community and educational sessions and activities in the garden for visiting school groups. Jan had always wanted to set up a small growing project on his own land and Caroline (on her travels around the world) dreamed of running her own eco-campsite. ‘Homemade Holidays‘ is where we have arrived!
We would like to offer solutions for living that have less of an impact on the environment and enjoy finding good uses for ‘unwanted’ items. We think Holyford is a great place for families to spend quality time together whilst enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
Dylan the dog comes from a long line of vegetable growers’ dogs. He loves going for walks, chasing rabbits and chasing Jan’s trailer.
Several of our guests, with children who were nervous of dogs at the beginning of their week with us have left Holyford with their confidence restored thanks to spending time with Dylan.