Paul and his wife Philiy still feel like they are at the beginning of an exciting journey fusing luxury and nature to create a natural space for the most precious of commodities, time.
We feel a growing responsibility to be thoughtful and sensitive with any alterations we make to this land. The properties are labours of love. Outside they reflect their setting and inside there isn’t an object we don’t think beautiful.
Paul’s family have been at Fordscroft since 1955 seeing the farm transition from traditional mixed farming to large scale dairy to the quieter suckler herd and arable farming you’ll find today.
This land is special. I’ve always felt it. It’s not just the supported feeling of my feet following the long trodden paths of father and grandfather but the contours of the land. Sheltered by a wall of chalk and flint hill to the south and then falling away flat as far as the eye can see across the Somerset Levels, the farm is both sheltered from the world while feeling light and open. You are effortlessly connected to society whilst feeling like you have stepped off the map.
Hinton Hideaways sits at the foot of Castle Hill, a mediaeval castle site, on the 260 acre farm Fordscroft. The farmland and adjoining village, Hinton St George has been mentioned in the Domesday Book and the village and farm have been entwined connected across the generations.
In the 12th century stones from the Castle were carried down to the village of Hinton St George to build the grand residence for the Poulett Family. Paul’s ancestral ties link with those of the Poulett Family across generations. Paul’s great-great grandfather and son worked for Lord Poulett, both helping to run the estate.
Lord Poulett died with no dependents so bequeathed a sum of money to Charles Irish. With both father and son being named Charles they used it to create a stained-glass window in Hinton St George church for the community, which you can see today.
The connection with land and follows throughout the Irish Family life. Paul’s Grandfather and Great Uncle would walk through Hinton village and visit neighbouring homes selling milk from the back of a handcart before they took a chance on purchasing Fords Croft Farm in 1955.
Once an organic dairy farm, the only cattle that roam freely over the hills are Paul’s father’s award-winning suckler herd.
The land is still sympathetically maintained with crops of grass, wheat, barley, maize, peas and beans planted and tree planting of native species to encourage the return of wildlife.
There are nesting Barn Owls that you can hear on a summer’s night calling to each other, and herds of shy fallow deer that wandered down to the site to graze in the field. Badgers regularly dig up the grass verges hunting for worms and there is an abundance of birds that create the best dawn chorus you will ever hear in the Spring.