Our Story

We are Jo, Mark and Izzy – a three-generation family, based on a 13-acre farm, between the stunning Wye Valley and Forest of Dean and we are delighted to be launching Hope Farm Retreats in 2021. 

Our land is on the edge of the ancient village of St Briavels, within walking distance of a community shop with deli, traditional village pub, English Heritage medieval moated castle and easy access to a range of outdoor activities – such as family cycle trails, Offa’s Dyke Path, canoeing along the Wye River, foraging, and the Sculpture Trail in the heart of the forest, and much more.

Jo has a career in teaching sustainability education spanning over 20 years from working museums to university contexts, promoting outdoor education and traditional craft teaching. Opening Hope Farm Retreats is the culmination of nearly 13 years work; having first discovered the area when bringing students on a residential stay and searching for something more backed-to-basics for their own family. Mark’s career has taken him around the world in the Royal Navy and into the corporate world for the last 20 years. Returning from work trips always brings a renewed sense of appreciation for this relatively undiscovered corner of the UK – coming over the Severn Bridge really feels like arriving home and leaving work behind. Our farm is complete with two cheeky miniature ponies, a dozen chickens, a farm cat and a puppy – as well as 50 tenanted sheep and lambs. We also have our flower-farm and studio onsite, growing seasonal British flowers without plastics or pesticides. This year we’ll be adding some traditional beehives.

 

Jo, Mark & Izzy x

The History of Hope Farm

 

The house was built around 1830, but some of the outbuildings date back a further 100 years. The farm has been through several iterations, including a dairy, butcher’s shop and even hippy commune in the 1960’s. You can still see the milk step on our threshold, where the neighbours collected their milk each day and we have retained many of the old finds and character of the buildings in our renovations – such as old troughs, vintage tools and we’ve recycled many of the original materials.

We moved into Hope Farm nearly 10 years ago and my parents joined us in one of the converted barns about three years ago. We bought the adjoining land a couple of years ago, to reunite the farmhouse and create a sustainable, diversified farm with the related activities.

Life at Hope Farm