About Us

We are Claire and James and we run a small campsite and smallholding in rural Suffolk near the coast – Shottisham Campsite.

St Margaret's Flowers

We have 10 acres in total, although much of this is for the campsite. The campsite has been in our family since 1971. We moved here in the summer of 2009 after my Dad died. We have spent the past 7 years trying to bring the campsite back to life, renovating the house and developing the smallholding – we reckon this is a 20 year project! We have mad schemes and grand plans for the small holding which may or may not come off, but we are giving it a go. I don’t think there was ever a plan for a smallholding, it just kind of happened – we tend to do, rather than talk.

About Claire:

Small-time farmer with big, slightly crazy and chaotic dreams; university lecturer and author; reluctant historian; apprentice shepherd; bad beekeeper; organic gardener; food obsessive and cook; reader and book hoarder; cheese-maker. Aiming for sustainable, low impact living and food production for ourselves and our lovely campers – the revolution starts with us, let’s do it and think about it later.

Claire and Kainaat2

Me, nearly 3 years ago, looking totally smug (and exhausted) as I had just driven back from Scotland with my new puppy Kainaat.

About James:

Pig-man; duck-whisperer; builder of animal shelters that will withstand the zombie apocalypse.

James and Daisy2

James and Daisy Dog in Cornwall

About the blog:

I started this blog as a way of recording our adventures and journey on the smallholding. It is almost a journal; sometimes a place to record smallholding and garden related information and dates; an index of recipes; a list of disasters and successes; a scrapbook of memories; a photo album; and a place of wonder (for me at least).

Yes, I also had cancer, but I didn’t win or lose a battle with it, it was just another rubbish thing that happened in a life that has been mainly full of rather good things.

35 responses to “About Us

  1. I’ve been busy all week but have just sat down and read everything on here. It’s such a lovely and fun read Claire! I’m just a tad concerened we won’t have anything to talk about when we see you! x

  2. Cannot WAIT to come visit this summer. Thanks for writing this Claire. So wonderful to follow a slice of your lives.

  3. Reading your blog is like being in the room with you. You write exactly like you talk and I am loving every word. Thank you for making your home, campsite, fur friends and beasties, gardens, and kitchen creations all so real for me. Big hug to you both.

  4. How absolutely wonderful, I love the little animal house you have positioned very sensibly in the center of your fields.. Lovely to have met you.. c

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog. I thought that I’d return the complement and visit yours! What a lovely place. It’s also nice to read of someone else who has fingers in several pies with the odd hair-brained idea clattering around too!

  6. Just been looking for a possible campsite for September – I really should come and stay here again – it must be over 16 years since I last stayed and it’s such a lovely site!

    • It would be lovely to see you. I guess the last time you were here was when my Dad was alive. Things are kind of the same and kind of different – we now have a smallholding!

  7. Hi Claire & James,
    I am so very happy to have discovered your blog and your story. It is wonderful that places and projects like yours exist. Wonderful that your hens are happy. Wonderful that your pigs are happy (there is actually a free-range pig farm nearby our house which I like to call “happy pig” and I wish I never had to buy pork elsewhere but I don’t know how we’ll do when we move!). Wonderful too that you are surrounded by so many cats & dogs (we have three rescued cats and I would also have more if I had “less self-control”) β€” who by the way were given great names! This is a truly fantastic life project you are narrating. Thank you for sharing this with us! I wish you all the success you surely deserve.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. it is a crazy, long term project, but it is fun and we are learning a lot. Providing small scale, humanely reared food is a passion of mine – it is possible for us all to live differently

  8. I have a dream to emulate your life! I too work at a university but currently have just a quarter acre suburban lot, with plans to move to a smallholding of my own! So glad I found you on IG!

    • Thank you. It is nice to meet you too. Good luck with your smallholding plans. Smallholding and university life can co-exist nicely – they provide a nice contrast to each other. It is also amazing what you can grow and raise in a suburban lot – we grew veggies in a tiny garden in London before we moved out here.

  9. Oh my gosh, this is just wonderful! I am adding you to my bucket list, I must visit your campsite and meet you and your lovely animals!
    Keep up the great work πŸ˜€

    • Thank you for stopping by – and it would be lovely if you could come and visit the campsite and smallholding one day πŸ™‚

  10. Hi Claire and James. Just wanted to thank you for making us so welcome when we visited your campsite this summer. It was amazing to see Racheal with the animals, and to hear her giggling at the cockerel in the early hours of the morning! Thank you so much for making the experience so special for her and, consequently, us too. Just working out what we have to fit into next year’s summer holiday so we can book again. Thrilled to find your blog so we can keep up with what’s going on while we’re away.
    Thanks again, Brock, Ann, Racheal and Joyful xx

    • Hi Brock, Ann, Racheal (and Joyful), it was so lovely to meet you all as well and I am glad you all had a lovely time. Hope you can come back next year as well – we should have some more goat kids and either ducklings or chicks as well. Take good care of yourselves xx

  11. Hello I was searching the internet and saw your duck pond. Can you please tell me how big it is and where you got it thank you

    • I got it from the internet – not sure where now. It is about 6 foot long I guess and more than 2 foot deep. It was just the plastic shell that we bought and then we dug a hole and put it in the ground. We also had to get pumps to clear it out and to keep the water flowing.

  12. Hi Claire and James. We had a great weekend with you, all too short. I didnt realise we had so much in common!! See my food blog http://www.hecichera.com for evidence! looking forward to seeing you both again – and to eating your bacon in the morning! Dawn and David x

    • Hi Dawn and David,

      It was lovely to meet you both and glad you liked the breakfast. I love your website – I’m trying to sign-up but it doesn’t like my email address – honestly I am no good with computers. We generally have gluten-free buns available (and always gluten-free cake) – if you fancy. Hope to see you again soon take care

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