Meet the siblings

Ben's story

Ben Hollins grew up at Fordhall Organic Farm, with sister Charlotte. Children of organic pioneer Arthur Hollins and wife Connie. Ben, as the tenant farmer – manages the livestock, farm shop, hog roasts and his catering trailers, with a wonderful staff team behind him.

These businesses are managed commercially, and the takings allow Ben to pay rent to the Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI), the charitable and community organisation that owns the land.

When the siblings reached end of their time in education and wondering what they were going to do with the rest of their lives, regenerating Fordhall and continuing Arthur's organic legacy, was the perfect job.

Charlotte and Ben Hollins
Ben and Jamie Hollins in a field with sheep

Together, they took over the tenancy at Fordhall in 2004 from their father. Due to the legal battles and eviction notices the family had faced in the 14 years previous to this, Ben and Charlotte inherited a mere 11 cows, 6 pigs and 6 sheep and a very neglected and run down farm.

They began to build the farm business by selling their produce direct to consumers and 12 months later, with the help of friend Sophie, they instigated the campaign to save the farm from development through the involvement of the community. Arthur sadly passed away in 2005, but supported by mum, Connie, the siblings, together with Sophie and a willing band of volunteers carried on.

In 2006, 8,000 members of the community purchased Fordhall, forming the FCLI and earning Fordhall the title of England’s first community owned farm!

Read the story of the FCLI here

Ben now leases Fordhall Farm, some buildings and the farmhouse from the FCLI, residing on-site with his family. He has a 100-year farm business tenancy agreement with succession rights for his children if they would like to carry on the tenancy.

In the event that his children decide not to inherit the tenancy, the FCLI will provide another long-term tenancy to other young people entering the agricultural industry, with the condition that the land remain organic and continues to have community access.

Charlotte’s story

Charlotte, along with Ben, firmly believed that Fordhall had an atmosphere and history that could not be lost and a huge potential that was just waiting to be unlocked.

Having fought hard to save their family home from development, Charlotte settled into her dream job managing the FCLI.

This structure provides accessible land to new and young farmers entering the industry, like Ben and Charlotte.

Long-term tenancies are becoming more difficult to come by as landowners become wary of tying up their land for long periods of time, thus removing the potential to sell it for future development.

When placing the farm into community ownership, the tenants are given complete security of tenure and know that the work they put into the land will help future generations of farmers after them. Simultaneously, the community know that this farm will be there for future generations to enjoy, visit, learn and buy fresh local produce from.

Charlotte is passionate about communities connecting with nature, our landscape and the nutritious food it provides. Her work guiding the Fordhall Community Land Initiative as the General Manager, supports this journey for us all.

Purchase 'The Fight for Fordhall Farm' here

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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