Mother’s Garden farm and cottage for sale

Mother’s Garden, one of the most famous “living the dream” farms in the world, is for sale.

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

Dry-stone barn

Fully-furnished and successful 3 bedroom holiday cottage business

Swimming pool

Yoga/art studio


Olive, almond, hazel and fruit trees

Vegetable gardens


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.

“Our farm has been very much about being as self-sufficient and ecological as possible,” said Maggie.

“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.

“Our children have thrived, living close to nature on a farm with the freedom that brings, and learning Catalan and Spanish,” said Martin.

“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.

4 responses to Mother’s Garden farm and cottage for sale

  1. Jane Stewart-Sant

    I have followed your reports since the first ever TV programmes made about your move to Spain, read your articles in the Yorkshire Post, and all your books!

    You are so very brave to make the move back to the UK and I can see that your comment in your email to me recently – that the welfare and needs of your family is always the most important consideration – was very portentous.

    Children and young people are so adaptive and Ella will love university I am sure and Joe a new life with new friends and activities. I am sure you will return often to Spain where much of your heart will remain and I wish you and your family every success, happiness and good health.

    I am sure you will be writing a great deal and I shall look forward to reading your articles and maybe books.

    The life that you have lived and promoted in Spain has been an inspiration and so heart lifting but now it is time to look to the future and as with all of us, our children are our future. Good luck, I wish you a successful outcome to the sale of Mother’s Garden.

    All very best wishes


  2. Conchita and Mac

    As your neighbours, living just over the hill from your “Mother’s Garden” and as people who have come to love you all very much, we are going to miss you when you leave here more than we dare say. Between you all, you have made your home a focus for us and for many, a place we have visited, as home from home, innumerable times. Mother’s Garden has become a focal centre, a place in which to recuperate for many local people as well as for visitors.

    Because we have lived in the same valley as you for 21 years, we know how special is this little acre. To many people, including those who believe that there are things that cannot be explained, our valley indeed seems special. The locals are friendly and helpful, and friends who visit often comment on the fact that they feel happy and content when in our valley. And perhaps this strangely warm feel about the area has something to do with the enormous success that you have all made of your time here. Whoever comes after you will,for sure, discover that they also find Mother’s Garden a happy and a friendly place, just as you have. For they too will have the magic character of our valley influencing them.

    Yes, you will all be missed greatly. But life and people have to move on when they must. And we already know that whoever comes in your place will discover that they too will be happy and content in “l’hort de la mare” for it is a special place and it clearly does special things to all who live within it.

    Take with you our love and hopes for your futures,

    Conchita and Mac

  3. Sue Cruickshank

    Just read today’s EDP( 23.3.13) and had to re-read your article to absorb it! We have loved following your life and watching your children grow over the years.
    Yes there is always a time when you reflect and look to the future. What you cannot take away is the lifestyle you gave to your children, something that will remain with them forever, and be passed on to their children.Who knows they may even return to Spain in the future??
    Good Luck in your move and please keep us readers up to date with events!

  4. Michael Kellett

    Stunned is not the word, we really REALLY,hope things work out for you all,you are truly a wonderful family,and the one time we spent there was amazing,i really wished i could have travelled down in my 64 beetle but things weren’t meant to be.
    It was so good to see you in York when you launched Shaking the tree.
    You are truly an inspiration to us all…

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