About our community-owned farm

By restoring connections between hearts, minds and the soil, we will encourage and create meaningful change, which helps build health and resilience within people and planet.

Registered as a charitable community benefit society, the Fordhall Community Land Initiative is run by over 8,000 non-profit making community shareholders.

Put another way: 1 farmer, 8,000 landlords!

The story of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI)

How it all began

Arthur, Charlotte and Ben Hollins

The Hollins family has farmed the land at Fordhall for generations as tenant farmers. However, development pressures from a neighbouring German Yoghourt manufacturer Müller in the early 1990s meant the Hollins family was faced with numerous legal battles as their private landlord fought to evict them. Over the subsequent 10+ years, the farm and family home became dilapidated as vital funds were directed into legal fees.

After months of negotiating and only two days before the family were due to be evicted Arthur’s youngest children, Charlotte and Ben, were granted a new short-term lease (18-months) for the farm in March 2004, despite being only 21 and 19 years old at the time.

Arthur sadly passed away in 2005, but with continued determination, the siblings, with mother Connie, fought on to save their family home.

chicken doodle graphic

The countdown to save the farm

Refusing to admit defeat, the effort to make a serious attempt at purchasing the farm evolved into a key community group meeting in February 2005. This was attended by 26 people who all shared an interest in the future of Fordhall Farm, from conserving the natural landscape and organic heritage to realising the educational potential. The meeting was incredibly inspiring and a unanimous decision was made to save Fordhall Farm and turn it back into the buzzing environment that it once was.

In the months which followed, the general public were offered the opportunity to purchase £50 ‘community shares’ in the farm – these are non-profit making and make the shareholder a landlord of the farm in their own right. This foray into community ownership tipped the fundraising over the £800,000 mark in just 6 months, allowing the purchase of the farm to be made.

Shares are still available to purchase to this day, and shareholders are heavily involved in the decision making around the community projects and future of the farm. This makes Fordhall itself a true collaborative effort.

Purchase community shares here
Campaign to save fordhall farm, group of volunteers and Charlotte and Ben Hollins in front of sign. Sign reads 22 days to go.

FCLI pledges

Ben and Jamie Hollins in a field with sheep
  • Sustaining livelihoods on the land - Forever working in partnership with nature and our tenant farmer, protecting our soil to provide sustainable food and livelihoods.
  • Experiencing nature - Creating and maintaining inclusive connections between people and nature to improve well-being, leaving lasting memories and understanding.
  • Nurturing our planet -  Minimising our climatic impact, whilst also enhancing our natural environment to build resilience and support biodiversity.
  • Nourishing bodies and minds - Providing and promoting healthy, nutritious food using local, seasonal produce, and encouraging responsible eating choices through education.
  • Inspiring others - Sharing our story and expertise, empowering people to adapt an ecosystem approach to food, land management and community ownership.
cow doodle graphic

Community ownership and beyond

Charlotte Hollins at the Eden project for the We're Right Here Campaign

Managed by Charlotte Hollins, the FCLI collects rent from tenant farmer Ben Hollins, who manages the organic land, livestock and Foggage system in the sustainable fashion pioneered by their father. Ben also manages the farm shop and catering vans as an independent commercial businesses.

The FCLI utilises the same land for community benefit, operating many projects from the site, including: Arthur’s Farm Kitchen café, the Youth Project, Care Farm, school visits, volunteering, farm trails, tours, yurt glamping, family parties/weddings and community events.

After the fight to save the farm, Charlotte has become one of the community leaders involved with driving the ‘We’re Right Here campaign’ to form the ‘Community Power Act’, which aims to shift more power to those living within our communities.

Find out more about 'We're Right Here'

The FCLI Legal structure

The Fordhall Community Land Initiative is a charitable community benefit society, established by Sophie Hopkins and Charlotte and Ben Hollins in 2005, alongside many other volunteers.

The community benefit society structure (previously Industrial and Provident Society) allows shares to be sold to the general public. The shares are completely non-profit making. They can be returned to the Society or passed down in a Will, but cannot be traded. This makes our society safe and secure to carry out the charitable aims and objectives it was created to do.

The society has the following charitable objectives:

  1. To ensure permanently affordable access to the farm for farmers and the community.
  2. To advance education and provide facilities for recreation and other leisure time occupation in the interests of social welfare for the inhabitants of Market Drayton and the wider community, in organic farming methods, conservation, biodiversity, health, access, country life, heritage, wildlife and related subjects with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.
  3. To ensure farmland is managed sustainably for community benefit with the appropriate management for access, and to research sustainable farming through community land trusteeship, public involvement and other methods. The full FCLI Society rules can be downloaded by following the link:
FCLI Society Rules
Our impact
Our mission and values

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.

We're hiring!

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