Meet Vicki and Alan
Vicki and Alan and their 2 teenage sons are very sociable and friendly hosts with a great sense of fun. Alan is a Bedfordshire lad, born on a tenant farm, and has lived in the country all his life. Although Alan has farming in his blood, his main occupation is now building, especially groundworks (i.e. he likes to sit on a digger!)
Vicki was born in Leeds, grew up in Bedfordshire. Vicki is an IT project manager and accountant, and with a love of animals and horse riding. When Vicki and Alan met, a move to the countryside was the obvious choice.
In 1998 they found ‘Wilf’s House’, a smallholding on Park Road Stevington, built in 1886, a ’Duke of Bedford’ house. The next 20 years have involved renovating, and extending the house to meet the needs of the family. They welcomed sons Tom in 2001 and Oliver in 2002. The family enjoy sports including horse riding, running and triathlons and tennis – in 2007 Vicki and Alan with their friend Gary and nephew Antony raised £20,000 for Help the Hospices running the London Marathon.
The barn that is Maythorn Farm was converted into a home by Vicki and Alan in 2016.
The farm includes 6 acres to the rear and 25 acres over the road. The pasture at 88 Park Road is an MG5 mixed grass meadow which has been the same for hundreds of years. Sadly these meadows have almost disappeared entirely from modern farmland.
When they family bought the land that is now Maythorn Farm they turned it back to meadow, and the 25 acre ‘River Field’ hay meadow has become a wildlife haven, home to numerous species of grasses and wildflowers, insects, invertebrates, deer, hares, badgers, skylarks, barn owls and numerous other creatures.
Maythorn was named after Vicki’s Nanna May, and in recognition of the effort that Alan and his sons had put in to plant over a kilometre of mixed hawthorn hedging around the land – the common name for Hawthorn is Maythorn, as it flowers in May.
Stevington "A busy and friendly community"
This understated description captures the essence of the village. How many other villages of 600 people have their own Manor House, Historical Trust, a Sailing Club, Cinema Club, Writer’s club, very active Social Canter, WI, their own annual run, a community shop, and award winning Garden, have published 3 books, a travel guide and their own mugs, have a Windmill, 2 churches and a holy well, and 2 pubs.
With a history going back to Anglo Saxon times, (and recorded in the Doomsday book), on the River Ouse, and surrounded by in miles of countryside walks, Stevington is an attractive village, which feels rural, peaceful, and slow. Our guests describe it as a ‘hidden gem’.
Yet Stevington is only 3 minutes from Bromham, the largest village in Bedfordshire, and 10 minutes from Bedford, with easy access to London and the major road arteries of England.
The ‘ends’ in north Bedfordshire villages are hamlets separated from the main village by a couple of fields.
Park End Stevington now comprises only 6 homes. There used to be a deer park and house at Park End, but all that remains is a ruined lodge in the belt of ancient wood between Park Road and the River.
The Duke of Bedford (Woburn Abbey) owned the lot of property in the area. If you walk along the river from Stevington to Oakley you can see 17th century Oakley House on the opposite bank of the River. Oakley House was a hunting lodge (Duke founded the Oakley Hunt) and a scale model dolls house be seen at Woburn Abbey, which is only 20 mins drive from Maythorn Farm.