Proud to be smallholders
To grow and make things for ourselves: what fun, what exhilaration. To be able create things from the resources around us is a real education - making wool products from our sheep, green timber tool making, honey and wax products from our hives, metal work, food and flowers from the garden, lambing and even renovating the septic tank (OK, that may-be a step too far!).
We had wanted to be smallholders for at least 30 years and had allotments, grew and made our own food as much as possible. In 2008 we resolved to make it a full time reality and two years later we achieved the first step. We moved into New Mains Farm Cottage - which really was a derelict hovel surrounded by 4.5 acres of land that had been abandoned for at least 10 years - people questioned our sanity! Since then and have worked harder than we imagined to renovate the land, buildings and pond (while also doing day jobs) to bring alive the spirit of its unique history and place in the Scottish Borders.
New Mains has been the site of a farm since at least the mid-eighteenth century. The Mill Pond was created by damming an existing stream to provide power for agricultural work – it fell into disuse many years ago and renovation of the pond, dam wall and sluice gates is currently under-way.
In the 1920's the farm cottages and surrounding land were converted into smallholdings or lowland crofts, as part of a radical social experiment. A history of the area and its unique smallholdings was compiled by the village community council as part of the millennium celebrations (‘Smallholding Memories’ can be purchased from the camp-site).