Job opportunity in Black Mountains, South Wales for a couple to manage a Retreat Centre, with an organic garden

We are seeking a creative, adventurous and hard working couple to live in, develop and run a successful, ecologically friendly and relatively self-sufficient retreat centre, growing organic foods and maintaining a 19-acre farm in the Black Mountains of Wales. The farm is owned by Patrick Holford, a nutrition expert, and Gaby, who currently handles all bookings.

The property

A 19-acre farm, Fforest Barn Retreat, Forest Coalpit NP7 7LL in the Black Mountains of Wales, within the National Park near Abergavenny with stunning views, walks in each direction and a small lake. There is a 17th century farmhouse, two conjoined barns which is the main retreat space area, a cabin (where the owners live part time) an ecopod, two gyspy caravans, two huts, a treehouse and safari tent in the summer (see holfordnaturalholidays.com).

Fforest Barn Rooms

Fforest Barn Bedrooms

Twin Peaks
Bunk House
Owl Nest
Pigstyle

Fforest Glen Glamping

Celtic Dragon Gypsy Caravan
Peace & Love Gypsy Caravan
Treehouse
Luxury Safari Tent

The property is largely booked out for the whole of 2024 with weekend retreats or holiday lets and is in demand.

The farmhouse is to be extended to provide three further bedrooms for retreats and garden volunteers; with the option with of some self-contained air b&b type lets. And an outhouse providing a laundry is currently under construction.

A large agri-shed is also potentially convertible into a second studio/teaching space and for growing mushrooms. This, ultimately, provides additional facility for retreats. (The owners, who live in the cabin, also have a 3/4 bedroom house on the carless island of Lamu, Kenya, which is holiday let which could be part of the managed properties.)

The Overall Intention

Create and support an ecologically rich environment for people to attend on third-party retreats (and some holiday lets), selling as much organic food grown on the farm as possible, and providing an opportunity for visitors to ‘connect’ with nature, themselves. There are sheep (managed by local farmer), alpacas and the intention is to have chickens for eggs and Indian runner ducks.

The goal

To find a couple to take on the management of the buildings and their turnaround for retreats, land, animals and food growing. Accommodation is provided in the farmhouse as part of the package with a reasonable wage and potential for profit share as the business and opportunities develop. The farmhouse provides a private bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen for the couple.

The challenge

How to do this initially covering costs, with the intention to generate additional profitable income, and providing a reasonable living for those involved both in the short term and the future. We are therefore looking for a self-motivated couple with both the necessary skills and initiative, looking to a long-term position. In the immediate short-term the business is not sufficiently scaled, efficient and profitable to provide a full-time position for two people.

The perfect couple is best described by listing the functions that need to be covered:

Person 1 (full-time)

Has experience growing fruit and vegetables (and potentially mushrooms and cut flowers), a passion for organic/zero-dig/regenerative farming methods. Is in charge of planning the successional growing to maximise in demand produce. Communicates well with the retreats leader customers so everyone knows what’s available at what cost ahead of the retreat in order to maximise sales. Explore add on products and routes for sales.

Person 2 (part-time)

The need, at this point is part-time with potential to be more full time as the business expands, with the option of becoming involved in the marketing for bookings and the inclusion of the property in Lamu, Kenya. Other possibilities are running b&b accommodation in the farmhouse house extension when not in use for retreats or garden volunteers; offering therapy treatments (if so qualified) or developing this option for retreats; getting involved with the home-grown produce flowers and sales; and PA support for the owner.

The owners

Patrick & Gaby currently take charge of all retreat bookings (Gaby) and oversee the internal (Gaby) and external maintenance and building development (Patrick) adding on an extra room and laundry and an extension to the farmhouse to create self-contained three rooms with a shared bathroom.

Apply

Please send your CVs to gaby@patrickholford.com. Having growing experience (in the organic ethos), maintenance skills and some ‘groundsman’ experience is essential for the full-time role. You’ll be sent more details including terms and, if applicable, arrange an initial interview and a time to visit Fforest Barn Retreat, Forest Coalpit, near Abergavenny NP7 7LL, approx 2.5 hours from London or Manchester by car or train.