Our Story

Abbey Farm Cottage the home of Smock Alley Goats and Artisan Rosedale Goats Cheese situated in the small village of Rosedale Abbey nestling below Chimney Banks in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

Come and enjoy luxurious bespoke all year round glamping in our Shepherds Hut and B&B within the farmhouse.

Local activities on the doorstep are:

  • Walking – our driveway is a public footpath which leads to walks varying from a mile or two to extensive walks up and over the moors to the north of the village;

  • Cycling – be it road or mountain biking there are plenty of challenges of the doorstep;

  • Horse riding – there are an extensive set of bridal ways from the village that take you through fantastic countryside within the valley and up over the moors to the north, south and west of the village with forest trails available to the east;

  • Weekly basic cheese making course run by Suzie and Jonty in the cheese making kitchen;

  • Opportunities to help care for the goats, (horses), ducks and chickens;

  • A small 9 hole pitch and putt course in the village;

  • The moors with grouse, pheasant, partridge, curlews, lapwings and of course sheep as well as stunning views with the abundance of heather;

  • Two village pubs – the nearest being a 200 metre walk; and

  • Two village café’s and a village shop being a 300 metre walk.

The farm is under 30 minutes by car from Whitby, Scarborough, Robin Hoods Bay, the Pickering to Whitby steam railway, the historic sites of Iron mining in the valley of Rosedale, the Rydale Folk Museum at Hutton-the-hole, Goathland (the home of Heartbeat), Flamingo Land and much much more and only 55 minutes from York.

Suzie and Jonty Birrell-Gray were married in July 2015.

At that time they had a small field in SMOCK ALLEY, a road in West Chiltington, West Sussex, where they kept a cat, some chickens and two horses.

Suzie and Jonty were keen to know the provenance of where their food came from so they decided to buy to saddleback weaners, Star and Stripe, to grow for their freezer in the knowledge that they had been reared in a truly free-range environment and with love.

At the same time, they created some vegetable patches to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Suzie and Jonty soon realised how clever pigs were and had to improve their electric fencing on numerous occasions to stop the “boys” finding their way into the adjoining woodland! And, on one occasion, whilst Jonty was trying to repair the fencing Star came up for a nuzzle.. On pushing Star away, Jonty put his backside on the electric giving Star a shock, but did not move quick enough himself and got a massive shock on the said bottom much to the amusement of Charlie and Elspeth, Suzie’s kids and of course Suzie too!!

In the autumn of 2015, Matt Gillan the Michelin Starred chef prepared an amazing Goat dish on the Great British menu in which he used all parts of a male dairy kid which would have previously been discarded at birth.

Jonty asked Suzie whether she would like some goats as a first Christmas present..

Within 24 hours Suzie purchased five pedigree Boer goats!! Blondie, Luna, Cisse, Belle and Lucius a wether who she promised to keep as a pet.

Suzie soon decided a milk goat would be a good idea, so Sara the Saanen goat was bought in March 2016 quickly followed by Olive the Toggenburg, Ariel the Saanen cross and Clementine the Golden Guernsey.

With the purchase of a Boer Buck and a Golden Guernsey billy goat, breeding and further goat purchases followed.

At the same time, some breeding Mangalitsa pigs were bought.

The 2.5 acre field was now getting over-crowded.

The decision was made to sell the Mangalitsa pigs to a farmer who was wanting to breed them.

In September 2017, Jonty was researching how to make goats cheese from our hand milked milk and was frustrated with the lack of information available on the internet. 

He made some paneer cheese which went badly wrong!!

Luckily, Suzie found the Cheese Making Workshop (website link) where Mandy Nolan ran fabulous cheese making courses in Poling near Worthing. Suzie and Jonty booked onto a course.

Following this course, Suzie and Jonty embarked on creating their raw goat’s milk cheese making enterprise and started visiting Suzie’s Yorkshire roots to identify an area where they would like to expand their business.

Jonty’s favourite was the North Yorkshire Moors and Suzie was very happy with his choice. 

Their house in West Sussex was put up for sale and a move was on the cards.

In June 2019, Suzie and Jonty took possession of Abbey Farm Cottage, a small farm with 10 acres of land, and moved the herd of 49 goats, 10 ducks, 20 chickens, 3 horses, 4 dogs and a cat.

Abbey Farm Cottage sits in the spectacular valley of Rosedale, 200metres from the village of Rosedale Abbey with its two pubs, two café’s and a village shop.

Suzie has started to commercialise the making of her goat dairy products that include:

  • Raw goats milk;

  • Yoghurt;

  • Labneh;

  • Chevre cheese;

  • Haloumi cheese;

  • Crottin cheese; and 

  • A typical salad cheese often marketed as feta.

Suzie and Jonty look forward to sharing our vision with you and perhaps, after completing one of our cheese courses, you might be inclined to follow a similar path as us.

ABBEY FARM COTTAGE

ALDER CARR LANE

ROSEDALE ABBEY

PICKERING
NORTH YORKSHIRE

YO18 8SD

suzie.heatherbank@me.com

07714 217 195

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