Before moving to Devon and establishing Heron Farm, we (Peter and Christine Helliwell) lived just outside Edinburgh, where we had professional, sensible ‘office jobs’.
The arrival of a young family prompted a lifestyle rethink (some might call this a mid-life crisis!), and sparked a desire to own and run a ‘lifestyle business’.
A year was spent considering various options and looking at sites up and down the country before we viewed Heron Farm (then called Otter Farm) and fell in love with it.
What particularly appealed was the diversity of the site – from the vineyard and produce to the potential for attracting visitors to the site – and the location, in beautiful East Devon. Having quit our jobs and put our house on the market, the family moved from Edinburgh to Devon in September 2018.
Having never even worked in, never mind owned and run, a vineyard, getting to grips with the running of the site alongside developing future plans for it has been both exciting and challenging. For example, the first few months saw us harvest our first (huge) crop in the middle of a major storm; rapidly develop plans for a cafe, visitor experience venue, and accomodation on site; erect a huge polytunnel; learn how (and how not!) to drive a tractor; learn all about the rules, regulations and practicalities of issues such as running a vineyard, selling alcohol, labelling wine bottles appropriately, and much, much more. But as anyone that knows us will testify, we enjoy nothing more than a good challenge! Needless to say we are enjoying every moment, and looking forward to the future as we develop Heron Farm into not just a visitor destination but a brand that is synonymous with our ethos of sustainability and quality.The founding of heron farm FUTURE PLANS