COVID-19: Re-opening and Staying Safe at Trill Farm

4 Jun 2020 | 1 comments

We have been hugely grateful for your support over the past few months, from taking places on rescheduled courses and accepting vouchers in the place of refunds, to ordering from our online shop and supporting our enterprises in their veg box and meal deliveries.

We have been monitoring the latest government guidelines and advice, and are very pleased to announce that we plan to allow visitors back to the farm again in July and August. We will be starting slowly, with small retreat groups and trial picnic farm lunches, before introducing courses in August, subject to the continued easing of lockdown restrictions and if we feel it is safe to do so.

There will be a number of procedures in place to promote good practice and the safety of everybody living, working at or visiting Trill Farm. We intend to continue to offer a supportive, welcoming and nurturing community for all, whilst living, working and offering experiences in line with the latest government guidance.

More detailed information will be sent to anybody visiting Trill Farm for a lunch, a retreat, a course or a stay, but in the meantime, please be aware that:

  • Booking is absolutely essential – the farm remains closed to the general public
  • Visitors who have any symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close proximity to anyone with symptoms, should not come to the farm. Full refunds are available up to and including the day of your visit.
  • Social distancing measures will be in place – please maintain at least 1m distance from anyone outside your household or social bubble, and more if possible
  • Hand washing and/or sanitising will be required on arrival
  • Although we usually encourage public transport, please use personal transportation to visit us
  • Bring a face covering or mask to protect yourself and others in case social distancing is not possible
  • Lunches will be served outside with members of different households or social bubbles seated apart from each other
  • The shop will be open for one visitor at a time
  • Unaccompanied walks around the farm will not be permitted

If you have any queries, or would like to reschedule your visit, please get in touch by emailing

More Than a Holiday

2 Oct 2019 | 0 comments

Big Leaf Foundation is a small charity working with displaced young people in Surrey. Our aim is to provide a nurturing programme of activities, projects and events that focus on combating social isolation and improving wellbeing for the young people we support. 

For the third year running Romy and the team welcomed us, and a group of young people from the Middle East and Africa, to Trill Farm for our annual summer camp. 

For most of our young people this is their first time outside of an urban environment in the UK. We want them to relax, to take a break from their worries, to eat well, sleep well, experience something new, be outside and have fun. 

Romy and Mariel take care of this side of things for us – creating a packed programme of activities encompassing everything from woodwork, pottery and leatherwork to organic gardening, falconry and equine therapy, with games, music and campfires crammed in between. There’s even a treetop walkway with a zip wire through the woods. 

But the week is more than just the sum of its activities.

It gives our young people space to breathe. The early stages of resettlement can be exhausting and we often hear complaints of head and stomach pains. Some find the herbal teas, grown in Trill Farm’s herb garden, ease their stomach and help them sleep. We have a timetable but no one gets up too early and there is much-needed time to rest.

It provides a much-needed sense of community – everyone is entirely accepted and genuinely welcomed at Trill; it offers a break from isolation and boredom – here there’s always something to do, and someone to do it with, and it’s a chance to improve language skills and further their understanding of life in the UK. 

Something we hear time and again in academic research and through direct experience is this: to be received with respect and kindness, to meet compassion and understanding in the early days of resettlement, and to build a trusted relationship with an adult can make all the difference to the ability of separated children to find their feet and to move forward with a sense of hope for a secure future here.

Our time at Trill Farm is short, but it gives our young people this.

When we look at all the beautiful work produced during the week, we notice the same messages repeated again and again; carved into wood, stamped into leather and etched into pottery. 'Never Give Up', 'Freedom', 'Peace', 'Democracy', 'Justice' and from almost everyone, 'I love you, Mum'. 

On our final day we have lunch on the beach at Seaton... and as we leave M turns to us and says, “This week, I am happy”.

To the fabulous Trill Farm team, there are no words to adequately express our heartfelt thanks for your generosity, patience, humour and compassion. Romy, Mariel, Steve, Julian, Sam, Ash and Kate, Digby and Stan, Chris and Anna, Jonathan, Fiona, Patrick, Sue, Karen, Ali and Rosa, thank you.

Vicki Felgate is a co-founder and trustee of the Big Leaf Foundation, with many years of experience as a teacher and in the charity sector.