In our ‘Open House’ revisits, we meet the owners of some of the houses we have sold, to see why they bought them and how life has changed since! Here, Vicky invited us to explore the glorious retreat she has created and tells us why this particular property ticked all the boxes to enable her to start her business.
What prompted your purchase of The Orchard?
I’d always imagined setting up a venue for groups to come together to do interesting activities. In 2016 I found a campsite near Perranporth for this purpose and was 2 weeks away from my move when the sale fell through. Nine months later on a trip to Cornwall, using Rightmove, I casually put together a list of seven plots and properties to look at, as far down as St Ives.
I saw The Orchard early on in my search and thought it had potential. A couple of other options really caught my eye too but on a whim, I stopped for a second time at The Orchard and realised it ticked every single box and in a much simpler way than the others, which would have been mammoth projects.
Before I knew it, I’d put an offer in. I couldn’t quite believe I’d done that, almost without thinking and I knew nothing about Wadebridge! My Place in Cornwall’s down-to-earth, and friendly, non-pushy approach plus their efficient responses to my questions throughout the purchase made it a breeze.
What was it about this particular property that made you realise it was the one?
I was looking for land or property where I could accommodate a minimum of a dozen people with a large outdoor area and an indoor activity space. Ease of travelling to it was a consideration, as of course was the cost of all the necessary work.
With its unique layout, I could really imagine it providing just the right warm atmosphere for groups to enjoy. There was a detached 30 foot building that could be transformed into the activity space and the varied grounds and woodland for outdoor activities.
What drew you to buy a property in Wadebridge?
It was by pure fluke! I’d visited Padstow before and cycled through Wadebridge but for this project, I’d always been looking to buy further West. My first offer had been on a Women’s Institute building in Pendeen, West Cornwall, then my search had moved to around Falmouth before finding the campsite near Perranporth.
It was a combination of the property, together with the quiet location and ease to get to that led me to choose it and I only found out later that luck had drawn me to the popular town of Wadebridge. I then realised what a good location I’d landed – close to a well-loved town for provisions, the Camel Trail (I love cycling and it would be great for my groups) and between lovely Padstow and Rock.
What was the one thing that made The Orchard stand out and made you buy this property over other choices?
There wasn’t one thing, as it was important that it was right in every way, but as I love light and nature so the large windows with lovely views onto the garden and woodland in every single room certainly made an important contribution.
What do you like to do when you visit? Do you have any recommendations?
Being a lover of nature and pretty active, what attracted me to Cornwall was the unique and wonderful outdoors, so at the weekend, I always make time for a long walk or cycle. This may be a cycle to Padstow then a walk on the extensive sands, a walk from Rock to The Rumps encompassing Daymer Bay and Polzeath or along the dramatic cliffs around Bedruthan Steps. In the glorious sunny evenings of last year, I could also be found swimming in the clear tranquil waters of Rock – I really felt like I was in the Mediterranean!
How has life changed since buying The Orchard?
It’s almost two years since I bought The Orchard. It has been a very full-on time, with so much to set up and new things to learn in disparate areas and has encompassed big and small challenges.
Work on the house has been ongoing and the main projects of renovating the garden studio and creating a walkway through the woods have been completed, along with all aspects of setting up the business.
My brain has been so busy – too busy for me! However, I’ve now built a business that is interesting to run, made lots of new friends and acquaintances in Cornwall and been able to enjoy the wonderful setting of The Orchard and explore the great Cornish outdoors in any free time.
After so many 15 hour days, I have recently really noticed a difference in workload as everything is now roughly in place and I can now settle into a more relaxed way of running the business and my life. I have even just had my first short holiday since it all began!
Orchard Air is the business name of The Orchard as a retreat & activity breaks venue. Air stands for Activity, Inspiration, Relaxation. It is available for leaders of all types to bring groups of up to 14 people. So far, there have been yoga, pilates, self-development and nutrition-based retreats.
It is also ideal for art, craft, singing, music, bird-watching, spiritual, walking, cycling and any other group retreat or activity break where a leader would like a lovely environment to host their group in Cornwall.
For further information on how you can arrange an activity retreat at Orchard Air please visit