Build it Together - Fordhall Straw Bale Bunkhouse

by Fordhall Farm in Market Drayton, Shropshire, England

Help us raise funds to complete the construction of our straw bale bunkhouse.

by Fordhall Farm in Market Drayton, Shropshire, England

£15,830

raised of £30,000 target

86

investors
53% 33 days left
This project is using Flexible funding and will receive all pledges made by December 19th 2018 at 7:00pm

We need your help to raise £50,000 towards a wonderful resource to support our community, wildlife and the future of organic farming. 

"I'm a huge fan of Ben and Charlotte's, and a great admirer of all they've done at Fordhall Farm. If you're interested in a sustainable future for British farming, how could you not be? It's not just what they've achieved at Fordhall - it is the virtuous cycle of inspiration that they've sent spiralling out from their remarkable little corner of Shropshire." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.


What do we want the money for?

We need to replace our cold and draughty porta cabins. We need more space to run and expand our community projects. Our current provision is not adequate for our growing needs - our community deserves better.

The new building will provide:

  • accommodation for up to a class of school children, brownies or scouts to experience 24 hours on the farm immersed in nature
  • showers, enough toilets for a coach load of children and with disabled access
  • a communal dining area for our volunteers, our care farm (working with adults with learning disabilities) and for our youth project (working with young people struggling at school)
  • accommodation for our hundreds of volunteers, increasing the opportunities we have available
  • a large kitchen area will provide space for our care farm group to cook jams and chutneys with the produce they have grown and even to allow us to run cookery courses. 

The project has started, but we need £50,000 to put the final 'bale in the wall' so to speak. Please help us reach this last hurdle. 


A bit of background about us and our farm

Fordhall is a 140acre organic farm based in rural north Shropshire and it has been farmed organically for over 60 years. 

Revolutionary farmer, Arthur Hollins (my father) was born at Fordhall in 1915 and later took over the tenancy of the farm aged just 14. Despite the push for 'new' chemical farming, in the 1940s he adopted organic principles to which he remained faithful for the rest of his life. By the year 2000, Fordhall Farm was under serious threat from big business and the bulldozer. Our family was on the verge of being evicted and his life's work was about to be reduced to ruins. 

1536770873_arthur%20worms.jpg

In 2004, my brother, Ben and I (then 19 and 21 and photo below) returned from college and university to lead the fight to save Fordhall. By 2006, with less than six months to raise £800,000 to buy the tenanted farm outright, we began to sell £50 non-profit making community shares. When people read about our plight in the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Country Living and many more publications, they immediately supported us - it was quite amazing. 

Now, quite remarkably, Fordhall is England's first community-owned farm - with one farmer, Ben, and no fewer than 8,000 landlords - a number that is increasing all of the time. 

1536770916_Charlotte%20and%20Ben%202010.

The land remains organic to this day. The cattle and sheep are 100% grass-fed reared using a system called Foggage farming and the pigs are naturally free-range. The Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI) is a Community Benefit Society with charitable status and it now owns Fordhall Farm (through its 8,000+ shareholders). It manages the farm as a popular open community resource. It leases the land to a tenant farmer, currently my brother (Arthur's son), Ben Hollins. 

Fordhall is testament to what can be achieved when community, farming and nature all work together. Mountains can be overcome and the sometimes insurmountable challenges can become possibilities.

Our successes since 2006

It has been a whirlwind journey since 2006. Fordhall has transformed from a run down and derelict farm, to a wonderful community resource. We have renovated our Old Dairy building, created a number of free open access farm trails, created a care farm working with adults with learning disabilities, a youth project working with young people struggling at school, opened a café, a farm shop, we rent out yurts for glamping, offer volunteer opportunities and run many school visits every year for thousands of children. 






Environmental credentials of the Straw Bale Bunkhouse

  • The roundwood timber frame has been produced by a workers cooperative in Wales. The timber is all harvested by hand and crafted by hand, with no machinery in site. It is oak pegged together and by using the Roundwood, waste timber is reduced. Furthermore, it allows the smaller trees which are no good for conventional timber yards to be fully utilised and not wasted.
  • The walls are all made from straw harvested in Shrewsbury and built on site by members of our community. Internally this will be rendered with clay and externally it will be rendered with lime.
  • Recycled Car tyre foundations (sourced from our local town) have been used for the base - there is no CO2 emitting concrete insight.
  • The straw walls or sheep's wool in the roof will form the insulation needed.
  • A cedar shingle roof completes the build – in fact it is almost a compostable building!
  • PV Panels will be erected to produce electricity for the build.

This construction will not only be supportive of our community, but it will be supportive of our environment too. By using natural and where possible, local materials it will act as a carbon sink, rather than causing harmful greenhouse emissions.  

More information on the materials and green credentials of this build can be found at HERE 


"This building will honour Dad’s legacy, both in its construction and in what it represents, a place that is built by the community for the community. Dad always believed in people, just as much as he believed in his vital workers in the soil – the microbes and the worms." Charlotte Hollins


School children love nothing more than playing and experiencing the outdoors - we just need to give them the opportunity to do so.



Our volunteers need accommodation so that they can volunteer on the farm all year around. We also need a bigger kitchen to allow us to feed everybody!


Our architects impression of the finished build:


Volunteers are excited to complete this build, please help us! By pledging support you will not only help this vital community project succeed but you will even have the opportunity to stay in this beautiful building yourself.



Important documents
shareoffer business plan the rules

Levels of Investment

£100 or more

2 of 60 claimed

One nights stay in the straw bale bunkhouse 2019

• One night stay in the straw bale bunkhouse in 2019 for one person • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019 Please note that this building will not normally be available for private accommodation hire.

£15 or more

Thank you tweet

A 'Thank Ewe' tweet from a Fordhall friend on Twitter

£30 or more

Thank you postcard of the completed build

• 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019.

£45 or more

Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book

• Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' by George the sheep on twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£50 or more

Subscription to The Grazer newsletter

- Receive our quarterly newsletter The Grazer direct to your door four times a year - 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter - A postcard of thanks once the build is complete

£60 or more

Cream tea for two

• Vintage cream tea for two • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£60 or more

Become a landlowner with a share in Fordhall Farm

• £50 community share in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative, making you one of our landowners forever • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£120 or more

Two community shares

• Two £50 community shares in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative, making you one of our landowners forever, a vote in our AGM and a permanent say in our future • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£125 or more

2 of 10 claimed

Private tour of Fordhall Farm

• Private group tour of the farm and new building (2hours) by Charlotte Hollins (for groups up to 20). • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£150 or more

The children's experience

• Fund an educational visit to Fordhall, allowing us to offer a free session to a deprived school. • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£175 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Private tour of Fordhall Farm + community share

• Private group tour of the farm and new building (2hours) by Charlotte Hollins (for groups up to 20) • £50 community share in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£250 or more

Four Community Shares and book

• Four £50 community shares in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative, making you one of our landowners forever, a vote in our AGM and a permanent say in our future • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£250 or more

0 of 60 claimed

One nights stay in the straw bale bunkhouse for 4

• One night stay in the straw bale bunkhouse in 2019 (for up to 4 people) • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019 Please note that this building will not normally be available for private accommodation hire.

£300 or more

0 of 20 claimed

Family break in our secluded yurt

• An off peak family/couples break in our beautiful yurts (min 3 nights) • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' by George the sheep on twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019

£750 or more

1 of 20 claimed

Group stay in the bunkhouse - exclusively yours

• Private and exclusive stay in the straw bale bunkhouse for one night in 2019 (for up to 22 people). • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' by George the sheep on twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019 Please note that this building will not normally be available for private accommodation hire.

£1,000 or more

Fully catered group stay in the bunkhouse

• A private and exclusive stay in the straw bale bunkhouse for one night in 2019 (for up to 10 people) fully catered by our Head Chef and breakfast. • Two £50 community shares in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019 Please note that this building will not normally be let privately.

£1,500 or more

The ultimate children's experience

• Cover the cost of an overnight stay in our bunkhouse for a class of children, and a full day of educational farming and wildlife activities. • Signed copy of the Fight for Fordhall Farm book written by Ben and Charlotte Hollins • 'Thank Ewe' from a Fordhall friend on Twitter • Postcard following completion of the build in spring 2019


Let's make 'Build it Together - Fordhall Straw Bale Bunkhouse' happen

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