The Fordhall Farm story...

Founder – Arthur Hollins (1915-2005)

Arthur Hollins took over the tenancy at Fordhall in 1929 at the tender age of 13, after his father passed away. Following the intensive food production of the war effort, the land left to Arthur amounted to no more than a fallow malnourished soil, but the new farmer was soon struck by the big difference in the rich growth in the untouched woodlands.

Arthur Hollins holding some earthworms

Arthur grew to understand that ‘Mother Earth’ would correct man-made errors if left to heal herself. Shortly after the Second World War he vowed never to put chemical fertilisers on the land at Fordhall again, relying solely on natural animal muck as fertiliser. He let the grassland fields return to nature, and built up a herd of dairy cows and a pioneering yoghurt enterprise managed with his first wife May. Being among the first in the country to commercially make and sell live yoghurt they were soon supplying many famous London and Edinburgh stores and markets.

Even whilst business was booming, Arthur always found energy for his research. He was adamant that farming could work in harmony with nature and he spent his whole life reinforcing this idea. It is this importance of sustainability that has been easily absorbed into the Fordhall Community Land Initiative today.

A Country Club was later introduced to help fund Arthur’s pioneering research into soil fertility and organics. This new venture welcomed thousands of visitors over the years – from families to groups such as University students, WI or school trips. Arthur made it a priority to ensure that everyone left having learnt something about nature. The enthusiasm he held for farming and biodiversity was evident and he never tired of making people feel like they had stumbled upon a magical world.

The dairy and Country Club ceased after the tragic death of Arthur’s first wife in the late 1970s. The farm went over to produce organic meats and the restaurant continued in the farmhouse. Many people still recount their visits to this unique and mouth-watering eatery. The room was warm and the atmosphere was high-spirited. Joints of meat were placed on the table and the guests were handed the carving knife – every meal was like a traditional Sunday roast.

Arthur passed away in January 2005, at the commendable age of 89. His life’s research on the relationship between farming and nature, and his passion to integrate people within this, has formed the ethos for the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI).

Purchase 'The Farmer, The Plough and The Devil'
Read about the birth of the FCLI
Find out about Fordhall's history

Things to do during your stay


You will be left to your own devices during your stay, and are free to explore our picturesque organic farm. We have farm trails weaving around the farm, which will take you around our pastures, woodland and along the river. Why not say hello to some of our friendly animals as you explore?

Our organic Farm Shop is a short walk away, where you can purchase delicious local produce to prepare in the yurts. We can also provide you with a hamper of your favourite goodies to make your stay stress- and decision-free – just let us know when you book.

Our yurts are designed to help you reconnect with nature, your loved ones and yourself. They are well and truly off-grid. For this reason we have no Wi-Fi facilities at the yurts. There are electricity sockets available for use at the farm in the main building, but with the Shropshire Hills as your playground, this is the perfect place to switch off!

The nature of our yurts and surroundings lends itself perfectly to families that home educate; there are so many new experiences you can enjoy with your children whilst they learn about the natural world first hand.

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