The owners, Chris and Sarah Smith, came to Highgate Accommodation Newtown in November 2003. They were both originally from farming backgrounds in West Berkshire, Chris having spent his working life on the family farm, seeing many changes from truly mixed farming (dairy, beef, poultry) to arable only. Sarah, once the children were school age, kept farm books for local farms and estates in the area.
Chris and Sarah have four children who are all grown up with families of their own. They also have nine grand children, five of which live in Australia, two in Cheshire and two in North Devon. They are keen horse riders, although these days more ‘happy hackers’, and enjoy gardening and outdoor pursuits.
Over their time at Highgate Chris and Sarah converted three old barns into six cottages, re-roofed and updated the 1631 farmhouse to accommodate en suite bathrooms, and built the Barn House. Chris also converted what was once the dairy unit into stabling and an indoor ménage. The focus is now on group accommodation and events at the Barn House, as well as running two self-catering properties: Old Stable Cottage and Milk Stand Cottage.
Since January 2015 the Barn House and cottages have been managed by Julie and Steve Turner, who live ‘next door’ on a farm overlooking Highgate. Julie worked for over 30 years in the arts in Wales and has brought her experience of marketing, administration and finance to the couple’s new venture. She currently also works part-time as a parliamentary caseworker for the local MP – so life is always interesting! Steve has been farming beef and sheep for the past 40 years and is hugely passionate about the countryside and preserving a rural way of life. He’s always happy to talk farming with guests and many of his animals can be seen in the fields surrounding the Barn House.
Highgate is just 1 mile from the village of Bettws Cedewain, where it is believed an ancient church was founded by Saint Beuno in the 6th Century. The Bull and Heifer pub and restaurant in Bettws is a popular haunt for visitors to the Barn House and cottages and, although the route is slightly challenging, many do walk there (and back!).