What we do

I have my parents and grandparents to thank for my love of gardening, preserving and crafting. One of my earliest memories, is as a small girl, helping my Nan and Grandad to pick runner beans and tomatoes and selling them on the pavement in brown paper bags. Fast forward fifty years, and I now grown my own fruit and veg, make jams and pickles, and love to cook and be creative.

I have my parents and grandparents to thank for sowing the seeds.  I am also so grateful to be married to a man who shares this way of life with me.


I met Tim, my husband when I was at teacher training college in London – I was at college with his sister, and we got married in 1987. We had an allotment back then, and it was our pride and joy.

We pushed our wheelbarrow through the streets of Norton on Teesside laden with forks and spades and were proud of what we grew there. Imagine our horror when we arrived one morning to find our beautiful rows of chicory, beans and cabbages slashed to the ground. We were devastated and vowed to try to move to the countryside.

Where we live

I was teaching in Hartlepool at the time, and Tim was an accountant on Teesside, so that limited the distance we could travel for work. We began to look for property and to cut a long story short, ended up in Upper Weardale, buying two derelict lead miner’s cottages and an acre of land, saying ‘sod the jobs’. We stayed there for fifteen years, renovated the cottages, had three children and lived happily as hippies in the hills.

We left our ‘proper’ jobs and got part-time work at Killhope Leadmining Centre, sharing the childminding duties. We lived on next to nothing and learnt to make the most of what we had. The weather was so extreme living high in the North Pennines, that gooseberries would be blown off the bush before they were ripe, so we built a polytunnel and grew our veg in that.


Fast forward to 2003 and we moved to Bridge Cottage in Northumberland. We have a large garden, with its own babbling burn running alongside, and we have created spaces for vegetables, fruit, chickens and a greenhouse. Tim has even built a sauna down the bottom of the garden. The children have now flown the nest, and Tim and I are entering a new phase, with more time for the garden, and more time to share our knowledge. I have gone back to University and am doing a Creative Writing MA.

I would dearly love one day, to write a book, ‘A Year the Bridge Cottage Way’, so watch this space.
(You can follow my writing journey over at www.suereedwrites.co.uk and on social media under the same name.)


We are not experts, nor do we have all the answers, but we try to live as sustainably as possible. The Bridge Cottage Way is here to share what we have learnt and hope we can inspire you along the way.  We need to collectively reduce the drain on the planet’s resources.

The world is crying out for transition.