Who we are.
Director / Project Leader
Part-time farmer; part-time engineer, full time, full on Dad! After 12 years in the Royal Air Force and another 10 in the motorsport industry, I’m now answering my true calling – farming. I can’t say it’s been easy, and I’ve had to use my previously acquired skills to keep us going financially in hard times. But now, after twelve years of hard graft, we are so proud to present the Askefield Project.
What started as a family smallholding has developed into a vibrant hub for the whole community to enjoy those things that we take for granted every day. Animals, activities, the outdoors, the wildlife, the tranquillity! And the satisfaction of creating something that makes a difference to people’s lives on so many levels. It has taken time. It has taken seriously hard work. It has involved cataclysmic pitfalls and a huge amount of worry.
But we know from our current clients and visitors the impact the Askefield Project is making. And we’re in it for the long run; creating new and innovative areas to help and rehabilitate all comers.
Director / Project Leader
Growing up on the tiny island of Alderney, I had a ‘Famous Five’ childhood: the envy of many of my friends. When my own children came long , I wanted them to experience the same magical freedom and outdoor upbringing I had enjoyed.
The pressure of our lives at that time meant that Chris missed a third of the first six months of our eldest child’s life and that was all wrong for us. Enough was enough! The seeds were sown, in more ways than one, when a copy of John Seymour’s Self Sufficiency Guide arrived on Chris’ birthday..... I wonder who bought that!
It’s been a bumpy ride, but I’ve loved every minute. From our first haymaking and lambing and our students returning repeatedly to see how we’ve progressed to saying goodbye to our North Sea Camp volunteers, knowing that ‘Care Farming’ has changed their lives. Care Farming! We never realised the impact it would have on so many people and in so many ways.
Up for a new challenge, I wanted to be a part of a Project that makes a real impact on people's lives, mentally and physically.
I originally trained as an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, recently becoming a Forest School Practitioner.
I'm down to earth and easy going with a supportive and caring personality.
Back in 2005, Chris was working for Ricardo MTC and was enjoying, what seemed to be, a high flying lifestyle. He was travelling the world with a skill and penchant for gearboxes. Hannah had become an almost ‘stay at home’ mum having given up her job at the local Veterinary Hospital. Her only forays outside the house involved helping out at the local school for a couple of days a week. Any mother of three needs an outlet – and Hannah chose cordial over gin and realised there was a demand and a potential business opportunity. That was enough to persuade them to ‘up and move.’ Researching land and opportunities, Lincolnshire was ahead of the field by a ‘country mile’.
A course with NewLandOwner provided all the skills needed for entrant farmers and they even helped with the business plan which included rare breed livestock and polytunnels for hanging baskets alongside the existing jam, chutney and cordial business.
Houses were sold and short term rented accommodation found, along with the land that is now Peter’s Eden Farm. In June of 2006, Chris, Hannah, Peter Joel and Noah, as well as Hannah’s mother, moved to Friskney to start the ‘Good Life’.
Arriving in Lincolnshire, Chris started lecturing at Boston College, educating the locals about Motor Vehicles but it didn’t last long...
2007 was the turning point. 30 rescue hens took up residence in the refurbished hen house that we found in the garden and our first media article appeared in The Sunday Times entitled ‘The Greenshifters’.
We became BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Good Life Family. We were attending seven markets a month from Louth to Kettering as well as seasonal shows and Christmas Markets.
We had a kitchen and storeroom built (before that, everything had been produced in our own kitchen which had been modified to be suitable and registered). Pig 1 and Pig 2 arrived, along with volunteers from HMP North Sea Camp; the latter leading to many successful placements over the years.
In May 2007, the polytunnel was installed and the tractor arrived. You can’t farm in Lincolnshire without one! The first sheep arrived too; eight fat lambs courtesy of HMP NSC. Of those we kept three, including Shaunie who did, and still does appear in much of our publicity.
By summer, Peter’s Eden was producing veg boxes from their own beds and polytunnels. These were distributed, in modest fashion, around local villages. A water source was established around the main site, although it has still to reach the top fields.....
Late August saw us celebrating with a Hog Roast as our first hay was collected in and our first lot of chicks were hatched in the incubator. We were lucky – foot and mouth restrictions had only just been lifted. Far flung family and friends joined us for a fabulous weekend.
The following year, 2008, the kitchen and storeroom were completed, not that we had much time to marvel and enjoy, Farmer’s Markets being in full swing.
Our new Kerry Hill flock arrived from HMP NSC. There was much excitement and anticipation, especially as some of them came with lambs at foot...
Spring brought a spectacular and productive vegetable bed. Using shells from Grimsby, a path was created and a small barn frame was purchased from Johnson’s Garden Centre. This was all in place ahead of the first shearing in June.
The new ducklings proved too tempting for the boys. The children insisted on having them in their rooms until the smell got too much (Ducklings not boys!)
Ahead of another news article in the Observer, Hannah underwent a butchery course, winning ‘Best Butcher of the Day’ – nothing that her nearest and dearest should worry about!
We hit the big time in October 2008 with a request from the One Show to take part in a series of films they were making about people who had made dramatic lifestyle changes. Carol Thatcher and the entire film crew arrived at the farm on the 17th October to provide a real eye opener in terms of what goes into creating a 4 minute TV segment.