Something very special is growing in the heart of the Norfolk countryside.
Salle Moor Hall Farm, near Reepham, is a working arable farm, where traditional crops such as wheat, barley and oilseed rape are grown.
But the 327-acre estate is also home to a thriving and supportive community of small businesses.
There, in converted 500-year-old barns, you’ll find an experimental brewery, a bakery, coffee roastery, an artist, a bridal boutique and a motorcycle repair shop.
Land is used to grow organic fruit and vegetables, herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses.
And during the summer you can even stay and enjoy an off-grid getaway in a traditional tipi or luxury wagon.
As asset and marketing manager Antony Moore of Targetfollow, which manages the estate, explains, like many farms, Salle Moor Hall Farm was looking to diversify.
And that led to them opening up the estate to tenants, many of whom are fledgling and small businesses taking on their first bricks and mortar premises.
“We want to give businesses a boost and a head start,” says Antony.
“There’s no better feeling when a business outgrows the site and moves on to bigger premises.”
Each of the tenants have their own stories to tell – here we meet them.
Maddie Packman says that it was “love at first sight” when she saw the meadow at Salle Moor Hall Farm which was to become home to her glamping site, Camp Mela.
Maddie has spent a lot of her life travelling and her love of being outdoors and connecting with nature comes from her childhood.
Opening a glamping site had been a long-held dream – creating a retreat away from everyday life where people could restore, rebalance and re-wild.
In a moment of serendipity, a friend of Maddie’s who was brewing with Simon from All Day Brewing, which is based at Salle Moor Hall Farm, recommended that she paid a visit.
Maddie loved the atmosphere and started working the bar at All Day Brewing during the summer of 2019.
“That’s when I began to share my idea for the tipi site,” says Maddie. “It was met with a positive response, so I put it forward to the assets manager. It flowed from there.”
She says that the land is very special.
“When you walk through the gate, it’s as though you’re entering another time, into a bubble outside of the ordinary,” she says.
“A magnificent ancient oak presides over it, and there’s a daily flight show from the barn owl who rests in its hollow. It’s magical.”
The site opened after the first lockdown in July 2020. It is an adults-only site, which is open from May-September, and has five traditional Sioux tipis, which each sleep two. There’s also a giant communal tipi lounge decked with day beds, rugs and cushions and the whole site is available to hire for retreats.
“It was clear to me that we would work sensitively with the land and respect the energy of the place,” says Maddie.
“The camp is natural and elegant and guests feel the love and attention that has gone into the build. All the comforts and all the nature!
“We have used many reclaimed and locally sourced materials, including the timber that came from storm-felled trees, cut at a friend’s sawmill, just a couple of miles from camp.
“Guests really can enjoy the best of both worlds here – switching off and reconnecting with the wild beauty and peace of camp and then having the delights of the brewery taproom just minutes away on the farm.
“Reepham is walking distance away and there’s easy access to the stunning north Norfolk beaches and the Broads.”
Maddie also wanted to bring people together creatively at Camp Mela and from June 10-12 she is holding her first retreat, Wild Colours.
Maria Clarke-Wilson of Botanical Being will host a full-day workshop during which she’ll take participants on a guided gathering walk to forage plants to use to dye yarns.
To find out more about Camp Mela visit campmelanorfolk.co.uk or follow on Instagram @camp_mela_norfolk
Maddie’s partner, Nick Marriott, has been a carpenter for almost 40 years.
During his career he has enabled countless customers to turn their dreams for their homes into a reality.
“Helping people to improve the way they live and how they move around their homes has always been the biggest reward for me,” he says.
After making the kitchen wagon for Camp Mela, Nick felt it would be a perfect transition from building sites to hand-build beautiful living wagons “that people could stay in, feel refreshed, reboot and leave with great memories.”
There are now four Prairie Skies wagons. Each of them is unique, carved out of larch, cedar and oak and using reclaimed fixtures such as iron work and doors.
The wagons are a real home from home, with rustic yet luxurious furnishings. And there are hot showers and flushing toilets are next door in the Bathhouse, a cleverly and beautifully re-purposed Victorian agricultural trailer.
Nick builds the wagons in a barn workshop on-site and loves to show people the building process, which gives him the opportunity to flex his creative muscles.
Like Maddie, he shares the ethos of treading lightly.
Electricity comes from the purpose-built off-grid solar system.
“A lot of thought has gone into using local timber supplies to cut down on transportation and inside and outside of the wagons you will find many repurposed treasures – a huge collection of finds gathered over many years,” says Nick
“Often I wouldn’t know why I kept things but I knew it would look splendid in the right setting.”
And he loves welcoming guests to Salle Moor Hall Farm to share its magic.
“Meeting and greeting folk is so important to me,” he says. “I love showing people around the site.”
To find out more and to book follow @p.r.a.i.r.i.e_s.k.i.e.s on Instagram
Fritha Waters Gardening
The seeds of Fritha Waters’ career as a gardener were sown when she was little.
“I’ve always loved gardening. I used to help out my dad in the vegetable plot at home,” she says. “Being lucky enough to grow up with a big garden, I grew up appreciating the plants, the colours and textures within them.”
When Fritha was made redundant from a logistics job at an events company, she decided to take a gamble and put up a postcard in Reepham offering basic garden maintenance.
She then enrolled on the RHS Level 2 Horticulture course at Easton College and did a course in Garden Design with Julia Srigley of Broadacre Gardens, which led her to come up with her concept of Feature Flower Beds.
“I’m a great believer that garden design should not be exclusive and only be for people with the income to afford it,” she says.
“I had heard a lot from those with smaller gardens who didn’t necessarily know what to plant in a small space but wanted to be creative within it. It was then that I came up with Feature Flower Beds – the idea that designs did not have to be completely unique to the garden, but could be pre-designed and then tweaked to fit within a space.”
Looking for more space in which to grow stock, Fritha started renting a polytunnel at Salle Moor Hall Farm in October 2020.
As well as growing herbaceous perennials, she has also started cultivating ornamental grasses.
Fritha says that being outside gardening helps her to feel more grounded and relaxed.
“It is a mindful activity, whether it’s delicately picking out weeds around a shrub or pruning branches carefully for good growth next year,” she says.
“Gardening is making a commitment to the time ahead; if you sow a seed, you’re obliged to then see it to the end, watering, feeding and making sure it stays alive and comes to fruition in terms of fruit, vegetables or flowers. There’s also huge scope for creativity.
“I love having a space at Salle Moor Hall Farm – Salle Moor Market Garden are the friendliest neighbours ever! The skies and landscape are just breath-taking, from deep snow between the tunnels to stunning sunsets across the fields. It is a very elemental place to be.”
To find out more visit frithawatersgardening.co.uk and follow @frithawatersgardening on Instagram.
Laura Arnold, whose fashion CV includes time spent working for Chanel, Harrods and the Norfolk-based jewellery brand Monica Vinader, had the idea of opening a boutique selling pre-loved bridal gowns when she was planning her own wedding.
She trawled the internet looking for a second-hand wedding dress, but when her dream gown proved hard to come by, she decided to open a shop of her own.
“I realised that this was definitely something I could do,” she says. “I got some financial backing, started designing the boutique and built up my stock.”
She opened Threads Bridal at Salle Moor Hall Farm in August last year – and recently branched out into selling and renting pre-loved guest-wear by premium labels such as Rixo, Ganni and Ghost London.
“I knew that I needed somewhere quite unique to house Threads Bridal and all the retail spaces that were coming up online didn’t quite fit the bill,” says Laura.
”I finally saw this barn at Salle Moor Hall Farm and could instantly picture my shop being on the quiet estate nestled in the countryside. I also loved the idea of having several other small businesses surrounding me and they have been such a support network.”
Follow Threads Bridal on Instagram @threadsbridalnorfolk and Threads Reworn @threadsrewornnorfolk
Blue Flame Glass Studio
The newest tenant at Salle Moor Hall Farm is Blue Flame Glass Studio.
Here, Claire Hack offers bead-making and glass-working experiences as well as showcasing her own gorgeous creations.
She started flame-working 18 years ago after being diagnosed with cancer and facing major surgery.
“It makes you push to try what you have always wanted to do,” says Claire.
“So I did two things – flew a helicopter, and got into a two-day beadmaking course in London.
“Both were amazing. When I started to recover, and knew I would have my life ahead of me, I couldn’t afford to fly helicopters so I chose to continue the glass-working!
“It was the most amazing therapy to help me through the on-going treatment and I haven’t looked back since.”
Claire describes colour as her “true passion”.
“And for colour fans, nothing can be better than flame-working and bead-making,” she says. “It’s like melting rainbows every time you work. The whole process from start to finish is truly beautiful.”
Having experienced for herself how cathartic crafting can be, Claire says that inviting people into her studio to try bead-making and flame-working for themselves is a joy.
“I think the sense of achievement you get from making something is the best feeling,” says Claire.
“Crafting in any form allows you to focus fully on the one object you are working on, making something truly unique. You can lose yourself in that moment and all the other cares we have at the time are blurred, at least for a little while.
“Then being able to share that hobby with others can bring so much joy to both yourself and others. It can also be a real help to anyone struggling with social interaction after such a strange and difficult few years of isolation. It gives you a common love of creating to talk about and help each other with.
“And let’s bust a myth. You don’t have to be artistic to create something! Just passionately curious.”
See Claire’s website at blueflameglassstudio.co.uk and follow her on Instagram @bluflamer
Drip Drop Bake Stop
Sacha Ramnarine has always loved baking. She started out selling her bakes from home via social media.
Now Drip Drop Bake Stop’s scones, brownies, sausage rolls and more regularly sell out at markets all over Norfolk.
And Sacha has a professional kitchen at Salle Moor Hall Farm, where she and the team bake their delicious creations.
Follow them on Instagram @dripdropbakestop and prepare to feel hungry.
Salle Moor Market Garden
Connecting people with where their food comes from and how it is produced is at the root of Salle Moor Market Garden.
The three core tenants, Tommy Butt, Helen Cherry and Megan Davis, and their two apprentices, Rhea and Tallis, who were recruited via the government’s Kickstart Scheme for 16-24-year-olds, grow salad, vegetables and herbs which they sell to the community through a weekly veg box scheme.
As Tommy explains, produce is grown without chemicals, using sustainable farming practices that protect nature and maximise biodiversity.
“We start everything from seed and it makes its way into the fields,” says Tommy.
There are also opportunities to volunteer at the garden and they also hold open days and plant sales.
To find out more visit sallemoormarketgarden.com or follow them on Instagram @sallemoorveg
Rooster’s Bike Barn
Rooster’s Bike Barn is run from the farm’s old blacksmith’s workshop where Olson Gook has forged a community of bikers who meet up for ride outs in the Norfolk countryside.
Olson, who has worked for Harley-Davidson, services and repairs British, American, European and Japanese motorbikes.
His career has also taken him into the army and the ambulance service.
The barn is a love letter to bikes and the freedom of the open road.
Quirky memorabilia covers the walls – Olson’s favourite item is a 1960s rocker’s jacket (“it’s a bit of social history,” he says) – and he’s also got a custom petrol-powered coffee grinder.
To find out more, see Rooster’s Bike Barn on Facebook and @roostersbike on Instagram.
All Day Brewing Company
The longest-standing tenant on site at Salle Moor Hall Farm is All Day Brewing.
Based in a 500-year-old barn, and run by Simon Barker, the experimental brewery makes the most of its rural location.
Specialising in wild and mixed fermentations, they grow their own hops (they hold an annual hop picking festival in September), and have their own deep chalk borehole for water.
Malt barley is grown within 100 years of the brewery and they have their own in-house fermentation cultures taken from around the brewery and the organic apple orchard.
And herbs and fruit for their beers are collected from around the farm – including raspberries, blackberries, quinces, medlars and even Norfolk-grown watermelon.
The result of this experimentation is something truly different – beers like Norfolk Watermelon Kombucha Sour Wheat Beer and a collaboration with Ampersand Brew Co and Flint Vineyard alongside more traditional stouts and golden ales.
And, says brewer James Grant, future plans include making their own absinthe.
All Day Brewing’s beers are available at pubs around Norfolk, including the Murderers and the Artichoke in Norwich – and the brewery’s tap room is open on Friday and Saturday evenings until the autumn.
“I realised that I enjoyed making beer as much as I enjoyed drinking it,” says James. “Working on the farm, getting to make beer, getting to drink beer – you can’t go wrong.”
Norfolk Coffee Company
“When Steve’s got his coffee roasting on the go, there’s no better smell – there aren’t many farms that smell like ours,” says Targetfollow asset and marketing manager Antony Moore.
Norfolk Coffee Company is owned by Steve Perrett. Coffee has been his passion since he was 18.
He opened Black Apollo in Holt 10 years ago and supplies well-known Norfolk restaurants including Socius in Burnham Market, Benedict’s in Norwich and Meadowsweet at Holt, which recently became Norfolk’s third Michelin-starred restaurant.
He moved to Salle Moor Hall Farm during the pandemic, when demand suddenly grew for barista-style coffee, so that people could still get their caffeine fix at home.
“As soon as Covid hit and everyone was at home, we were doing coffee online and got so busy. We found this space and loved it, and it’s worked out brilliantly,” says Steve.
Beans are sourced from small farms and producers and are roasted by hand in a Giesen W15A roaster, nicknamed Sally.
Their 1549 seasonal espresso blend is named after the year of Kett’s Rebellion, with notes of milk chocolate, caramel and nectarine.
As well as the roastery, there’s also a small café and an outside seating space which is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings and is proving popular with dog walkers and as a place to mull over which wedding dress to buy from neighbouring Threads Bridal.
See norfolk.coffee for more information.
To find out more about Salle Moor Hall Farm see sallemoorhallfarm.co.uk and follow on Instagram @sallemoorhallfarm