Martin Kirby and Maggie Whitman, who with their very young children were featured on the first No Going Back Channel Four television documentary 11 years ago – a pioneering series that spawned a host of global “new life” programmes – are moving on.
After more than 12 years on the 10-acre Mother’s Garden organic farm in the Priorat wine and olive mountains of southern Catalonia, Spain – a time-capsule, beautiful region south of Barcelona – they say it is time to “pass on the dream” to someone looking for that special place.
The farm, which you can see in the foreground of the panorama to the left, is 30 minutes from Reus Airport and 40 minutes from the city of Tarragona and the Mediterranean.
It comes complete with
3 – 4 bedroom farmhouse
Fully-furnished and successful 3 bedroom holiday cottage business
Olive, almond, hazel and fruit trees
Meadow and horse corral
There is plentiful water from well and spring sources, and the farm has a large spring-fed reservoir which is also used for swimming.
The 200-year-old farmhouse faces a mountain forest nature reserve in a valley rich in wildlife and history, from Palaeolithic to Roman and more recently as the focus of the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
There is a village one mile away, with a school, shops and four bars/restaurants, and the main town of Falset is three miles away with a 24 hour medical centre, high school and other amenities. The farm is in the DO Montsant wine region and three miles from the world-famous DOQ Priorat.
Both wine regions form the tiny Priorat county which has spectacular walks, wildlife and the imposing Montsant mountain range, a national park. From the house you can walk into the Serra de Laberia Nature Park with its abundance of wildlife.
The French border and Pyrenees ski slopes are three hours to the north. Barcelona is one hour 40 minutes by car or direct train.
The farm is for sale now for completion and possession from September.
“Because of the exceptional sunny climate we have produced much of our own fruit and veg, olive oil, wine, eggs, honey and nuts. This has been incredibly satisfying. We have solar water heating, with mains electricity back-up and we cut our own logs to heat the houses in the winter.”
“And it has been the best of both worlds in a way – close to nature in a peaceful valley and also close enough to the sea and to cultural centres like Tarragona and Barcelona with direct rail connections from a station just one mile from the farm. ”
The couple have been farming olives for 12 years and have built up the award-winning Mother’s Garden olive oil brand (click for more information) which they will continue to grow, continuing to work closely with the local village cooperative.
Martin has written two books about the family’s life on the farm – No Going Back (translated into Dutch, Catalan and Portuguese) and Shaking The Tree - as well as a novel which is now a film project. He writes for newspapers and magazines in England and Catalonia.
“People have come from all over the world to stay here – birders, walkers, wine connoisseurs, families seeking something different – and that has enriched us all.” said Martin. “But the farm, the increasingly popular and successful holiday and olive oil businesses are, alongside my growing writing commitments, collectively too much now.
“Our children have all but grown up and with our daughter starting at university in the UK we will seek to base ourselves there most of the time, to focus on Mother’s Garden olive oil sales and promotion and the writing, to be closer to family and for our 13 year-old to broaden his horizons.”
“But the bond with these valleys will be unbroken. As members of the olive mill cooperative here in the Priorat we will be back and forth regularly, tending an olive grove and continuing to produce and promote our fresh, top-quality extra virgin olive oil in the UK and worldwide.”
“This special place is ideal for a couple or a family or even two families looking for that adventure, somewhere exceptionally beautiful which is comfortable but where they can leave their mark too,” said Martin.
“Ideally, given the nature, climate, water supply and fertility, it would most suit someone wanting to get on the land and eager for that challenge and fulfilment. We have achieved a great deal, but the possibilities are endless.”
The whole Mother’s Garden farm – L’Hort de la Mare – is for sale at the guide price of €925,000, for completion and transfer in September 2013.
Get in touch by clicking here. The holiday cottage is available for short rents up until the 26th of July for prospective owners wanting to come and spend more than an hour on the farm.