'Saddlescombe Farm has been instrumental in my recovery'

Emma, Saddlescombe Farm

Originally from Devon, but now living in a city, Emma felt disconnected from the natural world. All of this changed following a period of ill health, when her doctor recommended the Grow Project at Saddlescombe Farm. The Grow Project helps by engaging people in outdoor activities that connect with nature to foster calm and wellbeing.

Discovering the nooks and crannies of the farm helped Emma discover herself once more. Now stronger and more confident, Emma regularly looks after the farm when the farmers are away. She even loves it when it's pouring down.

Emma is an integral part of life at Saddlescombe Farm, West Sussex
Spending time at Saddlescombe Farm helped feel stronger and more confident
Emma took part in the Grow Project, designed to improve wellbeing through nature
A misty morning view of the Saddlescombe Farm buildings from Newtimber Hill, with rolling downland beyond to the horizon.
Emma at Saddlescombe Farm in West sussex Play Video
Emma is an integral part of life at Saddlescombe Farm, West Sussex Spending time at Saddlescombe Farm helped feel stronger and more confident Emma took part in the Grow Project, designed to improve wellbeing through nature A misty morning view of the Saddlescombe Farm buildings from Newtimber Hill, with rolling downland beyond to the horizon.

Audio transcript

Essential to recovery

'I was absolutely terrified driving up to the farm for the first time. Suddenly we turned a corner and went through a different gateway and there was this absolute hidden gem.

We all kind of shuffled sheepishly out of the van and all of our faces just started to light up, and it was wonderful.

Saddlescombe has been absolutely instrumental in my recovery. It’s built up my stamina, it’s built up my sense of self again, and it’s given me confidence that I can do stuff in a way that it wasn’t at all doable five years ago.'

" Saddlescombe is a magic place as far as I'm concerned."
- Emma

Life has more of a purpose now

'This a lovely field called The Mead. I like it very much - it's got an ancient trackway running though it which is apparently very old. If you pause and turn around, you can see the farm nestled away.

I recently looked after the farm for a week while the farmers went on holiday. I've done that for a few years now and it always feels like a massive responsibility, but also a massive privilege.

It makes me feel useful and that’s the best feeling in the world.

I remember there was one of the lovely rangers who had an indoors kind of role, looked at me one day when it was absolutely horizontal and said “I'm glad I'm going into a meeting” and I went "I'm glad I'm going back outside."'