When I moved to Yorkshire I barely knew anyone so I decided to reconnect with some old friends. Gill, her husband Andy and three of their four children, all good friends of mine, live on Harwes farm. Gill’s dream (from what I’ve heard of it) for the farm is to run it as a community interest company offering space for recreation retreat and education to all that need it. They’ve even thought about sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment by having two wind turbines and a biomass boiler- an impressive looking beast!
I love the project and the vision she has for harwes I also love how welcoming she’s always been of me when I’ve needed to get away from city life and go for a wander in her truly magnificent woodlands. One time I turned up in the dark in winter having cycled (or pushed) my mums fold up pedal bike the 8 miles to Hawres from Skipton up and down windy hills and windy roads and was welcomed in with open arms and a good brew with the promise of a spare pair of wellies to go for a stroll in the woods as soon as it was light. I also escaped to harwes to write my dissertation away from the distractions of modern life and surrounded by the incredibly inspiring natural beauty of the Lancashire countryside. I may be an exception, but I think Gill understands the need we all have (some of us more than others) to get away somewhere peaceful and just ‘be’, instead of ‘doing’ all the time.
Despite living in inner parts of large cities all my life my heart finds its natural home in the countryside. For this I’m known colloquially in their house as the “field fairy” and in Leeds, rather endearingly as “farm girl”. Its a true pleasure to be able to hammock in such a magical place in the middle of nowhere with only a pair of borrowed welly boots and Iver the cat for company.
Everybody needs a retreat spot, nowhere satisfies my needs better than Harwes with its incredible people, beautiful surroundings and bright future. Where do you escape to?
For more information on Harwes (totally worth a visit) click http://www.harwesfarm.org/