We’re moving to Hebden Bridge

I’m excited to share that after twenty years of living in London, Chris, Rumbles and I are moving to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire where we’ve just bought a farm from a really lovely couple. The Calder Valley is where Chris grew up, his family still live there, and it’s been my dream forever to live out in the countryside again to be closer to nature.

This means my garden design practice will move with me, and after designing over sixty gardens in and outside of London, I’m excited about a new chapter working on gardens around the west Yorkshire countryside, and within Manchester and Leeds.

Starting of course with getting to know our own new garden, which will certainly be a challenge with the land approximately 660 times(!) the size of our small garden in Clapham. At last I can grow vegetables and fruit in the garden’s allotment on our doorstep – I can’t wait for that first homegrown meal!

I’ll share more on how we settle in on here and in my Wild Way Newsletter, I’m looking forward to taking you all on this new adventure with us. Key for me is to be sensitive to the area, to place wildlife at the heart of everything we do, and to continue the great work started by the current owners blurring the boundaries between garden and nature reserve.

The view from the foot of the farm (and Chris)

Hebden Bridge calling

River Calder

Although in recent years I’ve focussed on city gardening, I actually grew up in the Chiltern Hills countryside where my love of nature began. I have strong ties to Yorkshire too, when I was young we often went on holiday in Yorkshire, and my family moved here two decades ago. I know the area (and Grand Central trains!) very well.

Over the last few years Chris and I have toyed with the idea of moving out of London – although we had thought this wouldn’t be for another few years – and it was Chris’ idea to first explore Hebden Bridge. I’m so grateful he did. When staying at Chris’ parents we’d pop along the hills or canal to Hebden, and it was love. With live music in the town centre, innovative arts festivals, and a strong, friendly community, home to exciting artists. Hebden felt like the place for us.

It was on one of our recces a couple of years ago that we decided to suss out the area better. Driving around the tops we came upon a little hamlet of farm houses above a mature woodland – a rarer sight to Yorkshire’s fields and moors. It was the most beautiful setting and we joked that this would be perfect.

Then of course the pandemic hit and life changed for everyone. We love London but it would be a lie to say being in London during covid lockdowns hasn’t been tough. Our garden and my allotment are wonderful – and a lifeline – but in recent years we’ve both enjoyed weekend countryside walks outside of London. With that taken away and London’s bustling activities gone, we really felt cutoff and truly locked in. We weren’t in a rush to escape lockdown but it focussed our priorities and our plans accelerated.

When it became real

During a safe week in late-summer, Chris was up with his family while I was writing in London, and a property appeared online. We’d seen a few places before covid that weren’t right and we didn’t give it a great deal of thought but Chris went. Amazingly, it was in that exact spot we’d driven past those years ago – though I didn’t know that yet – and I received an excited call from Chris “you should come up to see it – tomorrow!”

Over the years I’d described to Chris certain features that our fantasy garden might have. Chris patiently listening to me rabbiting on had actually taken notes because this place, he said, had it all. I popped up to join him, and he was right.

The below photo is the moment our offer was accepted as we walked back through the woods to catch our return train.

It’s going to be a big change for us, especially for city-slicker Rumbles who has only been to Yorkshire once before. We’re excited and nervous, and the larger garden will allow us to grow vegetables as well as many plants for wildlife. Stay tuned for more updates and a look at the garden when we move.

Follow our move, by joining my monthly Wild Way Newsletter and help support more free articles like this one by doing so.

Digitalis purpurea flowering late last summer

35 thoughts on “We’re moving to Hebden Bridge

  1. SO happy for the three of you! A new and very exciting chapter ahead. Wishing you much happiness. MANY congratulations xx

  2. That is amazing! So happy for you both – and Rumbles will love it too once he discovers massive new territory.
    Can’t wait to visit and do some orchid hunting!

  3. Congratulations! What an exciting new chapter for you all- cannot wait to see how this new garden grows and evolves. Here’s to many happy years in your new home!

  4. What an exciting adventure awaits you both. Ahead is not a white canvas ~ is she clay, chalky, or wears a see through veil? Much love on Valentines Day!

  5. Congratulations for moving “far from the madding crowd” of London! Looking forward to your new adventures in the wild.

    1. Thank you, it’s certainly going to be an adventure! Probably with lots of mishaps 😄 but we’ll figure it out.

  6. It’s so lovely to watch your career unfold from afar. Loved working with you when you were based in Brighton. What a wonderful place to settle! I’m very envious. Keep writing…it’s fabulous to hear all about your adventures x

  7. Wonderful news. I’m sure you will all be very happy. Looking forward to seeing and hearing about the new garden/allotment

  8. Very excited for you both.. Having the room to experiment and grow veggies on your doorstep is a privilege indeed. We moved from London (for me after 30 years, my whole adulthood) back to where I grew up in the chilterns. Garden massive cf London courtyard…but the joy of discovering and experimenting what will grow and what just won’t. Have fun and enjoy the never ending journey

    1. Yes, that’s what I’m looking forward to, more space to try things and out and just take in nature, it is a privilege I know we will be lucky to experience. Sounds like you made the right move too 🙂

  9. Rumbles is going to be in heaven! Along with you and Chris of course 🙂 Congratulations on the FARM(!) and your new life in the country.

  10. Congratulations! We have not looked back after our big move to Scotland and I am sure you won’t either. Looking forward to hearing about your new garden.

  11. Congrats. I can’t wait to read about your next adventure. Your blog and posts have kept kept me going during COVID and two moves this year. I signed up for your newsletter since I so enjoy reading what you are thinking about gardening and plants. We’re just starting to live on about 2/3 acre in Camp Verde, AZ, USA and have all sorts of ideas about vegetables, a food forest, wildlife habitat, herbs and perhaps some succulent beds. Right now it’s pecans walnuts and Bermuda grass and bare dirt where we had to replace a plumbing line. Delightful!

  12. We spent a week in Hebden bridge back in October. We stayed in Heptonstall on the top of the hill and absolutely loved it.
    Congratulations to you all what a wonderful area to relocate to.
    Look forward to following your journey.

  13. We’ve just moved to Hebden after three years on Skye. A commenter on my blog mentioned another blogger was moving to the area. It’s a great place to be! Good garden centre in Todmorden too.

  14. You’re near one of the best ‘leaf kicking’ walks in Yorkshire! Start from either Clough Hole national trust car park and head down to Gibsons Mill, or go the long route from Hebden Bridge centre to Gibsons Mill and then up towards Clough Hole car park. Leave it until pretty much all the leaves have fallen and you might see some fantastic fungi and be calf deep in leaves to kick through. We once saw a mushroom big enough for a toddler to sit on!

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