We’ve been searching for a smallholding for a year now. It’s tiring.
We’ve seen a few places, although I have to say there hasn’t been many coming on the market, but they haven’t been suitable. Either the house needed demolishing, the land was poor, or it was just too far out of budget.
When you’re surrounded by countryside, it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to find a field of your own.
But, while still searching, I find myself asking if we could make it work anyway? We dream of the good life, where we can be our own bosses, spend the day outside with our animals and enjoy our own produce, but where does money come into this?
We’ve had ideas of selling eggs and garden produce, rearing goats for meat, growing and selling plants. On a bigger scale, we’d like to set up glamping in shepherds huts and pods, and provide camping too, but this depends on the land we buy. Perhaps even a small farm shop.
But the more I read, the more I hear how hard it is to make any money from farming. That it is a constant struggle and that in reality, it probably wouldn’t earn enough for us to give up our day jobs. By juggling the smallholding and two full time jobs, this wouldn’t be so much the good life, as the burnt out life.
So how do you do it? Do farmers already have money, and therefore it’s all a bit of a hobby, or does farming really make enough money?
Until we buy somewhere, we won’t know what we can do on the land. Or should we decide our game plan, what we want to do, and hold out until we find the right land for the job? That could take forever, and what if the perfect place doesn’t exist?
I think compromise is the answer if we want to get anywhere soon. Find some land we can afford, where we’d be happy living, and adapt our plans to suit it.
But one question I am certainly struggling to answer, is how do people start out? The prices of smallholdings in Dorset is crazy. So are all smallholdings handed down through the generations, eliminating the need to buy? Or are they all wealthy people who decide to sell up in the city and buy a smallholding in the countryside? I wonder if the biggest challenge is actually buying a smallholding, and that what you do with it once you have it will be easier by comparison.