Fanny Bush Forest Garden

A forest garden and nature-based private retreat space located in the North East countryside.

About the Project

Fanny Bush Origins

Fanny Bush Forest Garden was established in 2021.
The land was claimed by Snowdrops Sunsets on 17th July 2021 and has been developed as part of a long-term vision to create a low cost, private, nature immersed retreat space.
Based in Chopwell Tyne & Wear this project is in it's 3rd year of its 10 year design development. This project is designed to replicate a small self build homestead for private retreats immersed in nature. Specially designed for people interested in learning about small scale, off-grid living & long term land based production techniques.Designer & host Terri Lee-Shield has claimed this unused land that was previously dedicated for allotments. The local council ended it's use for growing purposes leaving the space abandoned and left to become overgrown with brambles & weeds.The design here focuses on transforming the land using no-dig methods with a slow but structured method, focusing on long-term growing techniques to create a diverse & productive space.The space will be used as a private short-term, low cost retreat space for paying members. We will also use the space for members gatherings & for sharing any surplus produce with the local community.

Why Fanny Bush?

The garden is named after the nearest street to the space.The nearby terrace was named Fanny Bush Terrace but it had to be renamed in 2010 after the street sign kept being stolen!Loving the light humor of the name we decided to name the garden after the infamous Fanny Bush!

Fanny Bush Development

We focus our planning and development on building functional, enjoyable spaces by hand. The land design is based on planting for long term gain of perrennial plants, herbs & trees.
As we develop we plan to integrate a selection od connected but indivualy designed garden and growing areas and possibly raise birds & bees on the land for food production.
We have made slow yet steady progress since the project was established in 2021. Please enjoy the images below to follow our progression.

If you would like to read in more detail about our initial development follow the link to our blog.

Fanny Bush Vision

"What's the point? What are you going to do with a piece of wasteland?"The vision of Fanny Bush Forest Garden is one of beauty, transformation, potential and healing.The space is a physical metaphor for the people who come to be part of it.
Land that has been abandoned, neglected and allowed to become over-run with weeds and invasive species represents us; our minds and hearts as we grow in a challenging and often hostile world.
But despite this, there is potential for growth, healing and beauty.Through a clear vision of what is possible, considered action to reduce the weeds, clear the spikes and thorns…dedication to plant new species, allow diversity to thrive and nurture the space, new life can grow. Plants and trees and a dedicated space for reflection and exploration can be created.We invest time, and energy in the possibility that something better, more vibrant, nurturing and healthy might emerge.Fanny Bush Forest Garden is the physical representation of the transformation story of our healing journey. From the fear and confusion of complex trauma, neglect, and masking to stay hidden or ignored to thriving, beauty and possibility for change.
It shows the ease with which invasive species with their sharp thorns of the weeds, brambles and bracken can thrive in this environment, similar to the sharpness of our negative thoughts and tough emotions when neglect and abuse are allowed.
It's only through our commitment to try and cultivate beauty and peace in the thicket can something healthy and wanted be created.

Fanny Bush Plans

Our development plan is expected to last at least 10 years. Building by hand and with limited time through the year to develop this slow growing project is designed to move at a natural pace.Phase One 2024-2025
Initally, to welcome staying guests, our priority is to establish and secure the caravan site. Adding plumbing, water and gas for cooking. The main bedroom needs some TLC & repairs ready for guests.
The garden space will be developed with some basic paths and usable seating areas. We will establish a compost system.
Clear guidelines, records and behind the scenes admin will be required for the space.
Phase Two 2024-2025
Once the site is established for a basic habitation, we will look to improve the initial surrounding garden and the forest garden section of the land. Planting trees, shrubs, herbs and other beneficial perennial plants.
We will also look at options to add an energy supply. This will depend upon the number of members and funds raised for the year.
We will also consider the water and irrigation system of the land and garden spaces.
Phase Three 2025-2027
The next stage of the project will focus on expanding and developing the additional garden space and improving the garden ecosystem. Improving our compost, waste and fertliser systems.
We will look to add a perennial vegetable garden, as well as a dedicated reflection and socialising space.
Phase One 2028 & Beyond!
Our final phase of the garden will consider its uses so far and look at how we can improve the site for guests.
We will also consider if we are able to welcome live stock to the site including birds and bees.

Support Fanny Bush

We are always happy to recive interest and support for our project.
Our Friends of Membership is always open and we currently have spaces for our private membership.

You can support us financially through our Just Giving Page

If you would like to apply to join as a member please read more about becoming a "Friend Of" associate or stay with us becoming a member.
Click the Buttons Below

Friends of Fanny Bush

Group & Private Membership

Fanny Bush Forest Garden has two official support systems:

  • Friends of Fanny Bush Group is a constituted group who will ultimately take responsibility of the land once it is claimed and in trust. This group is formed to legitimise the project, build support for the idea and make any decisions regarding the space outside of the Snowdrops Sunsets remit. (This is completely free and doesn't require an exchange of time).

  • Fanny Bush Private Membership is a paid for membership that agree to share the space for private retreats. Members pay for their retreat through an annual membership fee which covers the cost of developing the site & providing basic essential while staying.

To protect our site and keep the use of it within it original purposes (community food growing), to legitimise our project efforts and ultimately claim the land, fundraise for the project and for decision making purposes we have formed two groups.

Anyone is welcome to become a Friend of Fanny Bush and show their support for our idea, attend meetings and vote on decisions that impact how the space is kept as a community asset.

The private membership group is an application process. Individuals are vetted to be sure they are able to safely enjoy the space and are capable of contributing to it's development within the agreed principles for the site.
We are careful to only welcome members to the site who will use it with care and respect the purpose it was carve space for people to connect with nature, theselves and to enjoy the peace of the land.The project is intended to be organic as much as possible and to use Permaculture methods and ethics to be developed and maintained.
To find out more about becoming a member you can follow the links below to read our constitution, service agreement and terms.

We are always happy to recive interest and support for our project.
Our Friends of Membership is always open and we currently have spaces for our private membership.

If you would like to apply to join as a member please use the form below or support us through or Crowdfunding Page

Terms & Conditions

Fanny Bush Forest Garden operates under the following terms and conditions:


  • Fanny Bush Forest Garden is a part of Snowdrops Sunsets Retreats, created by Snowdrops Sunsets (registered name S.S. DISTRIBUTION LTD 13007433).

  • This site has nothing to do with local authorities and has been approved by local support.

  • It is a private space with public access and the property here is privately owned.

  • It is not to be considered as a “community project” we have a very specifically designed root to reclaim this land, it is currently being stewarded by Terri Leighs and Snowdrops Sunsets.

  • Fanny Bush Forest Garden is an occupied piece of land.

  • We are not able to able provide insurance and we are not (yet) the legal owners or occupiers of this land.

  • We are creating this space to be an escape from society in many ways that means we avoid any associations with authorities and have an anarchistic view point of personal reasonability and cooperative agreements to operate.

  • If you are unable to take responsibility for your own health and safety, do not join as a member or come to use our site.

  • The site is to intended to be used as a nature based, low cost private retreat space for personal growth, reflection, contemplation and healing. It is not to be considered a holiday place or event hosting facility.

  • The site was neglected for over 20 years, has limited access and accessibility.

  • The site is off grid meaning it has no energy or lighting supply connected to the mains. All energy, water and other connections are provided by us and are our property.

  • All instructions related to the use of these supplies must be adhered to and any damages caused by misuse will result in compensation and repair costs being claimed from you and legal action may be taken against you.

  • All damage, problems or required repairs must be reported to us as soon as possible either via text or a call (in an emergency) or logged in the reporting diary provided during your stay.

  • The site is risky to move around and work on and anyone using the site is doing so at their own risk, we do not accept liability and these terms and our service agreement document serves as a disclaimer and waiver of responsibility.

  • Members and site users are responsible for themselves, their children, any invited guests and pets they bring to the site.

  • This site may not be suitable for some people with access needs, disabilities or other physical or social needs.

  • This site and retreat stays are judged by us as not suitable for anyone aged 0-18.

  • The site is dog friendly (with agreement in advance) and users are assuming full responsibility for dog behaviour, their health safety and all waste relating to the animal is managed by the owner.

  • The owner must always be present and take full reasonability for the animals well-being.

  • No other animals are permitted to be brought onto this site.

  • The site is a work in progress and guests should expect it to be less than perfect with alterations and improvements being made when we are able to as we have workers, volunteers and funds available.

  • Work will be carried out on the site at times guest might be staying on site. This will be notified in advance so users are aware.

  • The site is on a public path and members of the public can access the garden space. Privacy can only be expected indoors.

  • We have had security issues in the past and users must be vigilant and follow security measures while on site or staying.

  • The site is based in Chopwell (NE17) in Tyne & Wear. It is a small village with limited shops and transport links.

  • Parking is available in public car park close to the site (walking is required). Some access to pull up to the caravan or site gate is possible but cars can not be parked there.

  • The site is to be utilised and worked on by members only. Non-member guests are not invited to the space to stay. They may visit but not work on the site.

Membership Terms

  • The membership is created to create a community with a shared interest in protecting and utlising the forest garden space.

  • Membership is for 365 days and is renewed annually with the option to cancel at renewal.

  • Members must be adult.

  • Members may be considered aged 14-18 and will require a guardian and guarantor.

  • Fanny Bush Forest Garden has two types of membership connected with it.

  • Friends of Fanny Bush Group (FFB) is a constituted group who will ultimately take responsibility of the land once it is claimed and in trust. This group is formed to legitimise the project, build support for the idea and make any decisions regarding the space outside of the Snowdrops Sunsets remit.

  • Fanny Bush Private Membership is a paid for membership that agree to share the space for private retreats. Members pay for their retreat through an annual membership fee which covers the cost of developing the site & providing basic essential while staying.

  • Members are required to complete this application form.

  • All private members are automatically designated as Friends of members.

  • FFB is for friends of the project who support the idea. Anyone who seems to be in opposition to the idea or communally agreed practices, causes continual, ongoing or unnecessary conflict during meetings or when making decisions and people who refuse to adapt their expectations to the terms and nature of this project will be removed as a member.

  • The FFB constitution can be viewed here.

  • If private members choose not to renew they will remain as FFB members unless they choose to remove themselves or are dismissed from membership for acting outside of these terms and conditions or for a stated reason for dismissal.

  • Private members are required to sign a service agreement in person on arrival for their stay.

  • A copy of this service agreement can be found here.

  • Members who complete the application form agree to these terms in order to join and their membership is considered subject to these terms prior to the physical signature being collected.

  • Private members are subscribing to a paid for annual membership.

  • One week stay is included as standard for each member.

  • Couples joint membership is available as an option.

  • Members can request additional stays of up to 4 weeks per year and they are paid for and subject to the same payment terms.

  • Private membership is activated when the first payment is received and all forms have been completed.

  • Private members are paying for one week of access to the caravan, including basic food supplies, gas and plumbing.

  • Electricity and energy supply are not guaranteed.

  • There is no wi-fi or electronics on site.

  • Members are expected to manage their waste produced on site in aligment with our wste system.

  • Unprocessed waste may have to be removed by the user from the site.

  • Members are expected to contribute and communicate to help improve the site and keep our records up to date.

  • We will be developing our digital and online systems to streamline all our processes as soon as funds allow. When this happens members must take the tine to transfer to the new system and folow the instructions provided to do so within the dates specified.

  • Failure to do this may resut in membership being cancelled.

  • Members are required to provide contact details to be notified of relevant news and updates via email or phone.

  • We have a Whatsapp group to update members, annouce events and meetings.

Work & Contribution Terms

  • All members are required to do basic work during their stay (regardless of their additional work agreement).

  • Required work is: itinerary check, washing up, dusting and surface cleaning, hoovering, plant watering and stripping the bedding, reporting and documenting required records (such as damages or repairs needed, any news and observations not previously recorded) removal and management of waste. We also welcome any offers of skilled or administration work and consider all offers.

  • Basic shared tools, equipment and instructions are supplied; any additional needs for equipment or instructions must be requested in advance at the time of joining.

  • Any member who requires their own personal tools or equipment must provide them.

  • People are asked to follow the instructions provided unless they are experinced in the job and can provide alternative instructions or find an easier, more efficent way to do the same job to the smae standard.

  • Work is expected to be done at a reasonable pace and to a good standard.

Booking Terms

  • Booking cannot be made until payment is made in full and in advance.

  • People who pay first are given the option to book first. We operate a first come first served system.

  • Bookings will not be open until the stage of development is complete and the available dates are dictated by Snowdrops Sunsets. These are not negotiable.

  • Booking dates can be recurring (as in a week can be selected each year) and must be confirmed when requested at renewal.

  • Any unconfirmed recurring dates will be assumed to have been abandoned and will become vacant again.

  • All booking requests must be made at least 7 full days prior to the stay requested.

  • Bookings can be transferred to other members with prior agreement of all parties involved with at least 7 days notice given and confirmation is made in writing.

  • Cancellations of bookings must be made within 28 days to retain access.

  • Rebooking is subject to availability and is not gauranteed.

  • Rebookings are not priorised over oroginal bookings and will be put at the bottom of the booking priorty list.

  • If a booking is not made within 12 months of payment being received (due to the fault of the member) then a random week is allocated to them and if that week is missed it is considered lost.

  • Stays are Saturday to Saturday.

  • Check out is expected between 12-1pm.

  • Check in are expected between 1-5pm.

  • Exceptions can be made in some circustnces but they must be agreed and requested in advance and may result in a shorter stay.

  • We may offer spare retreat spaces or cancellation slots at short notice to members at a reduced rate that will be made clear at the time of booking.

Payment Terms

  • Payments are made in exchange for time at the premises, repairs, maintenance and ongoing improvements including equipment, tools, materials.

  • Prices are subject to an annual review. Any changes will be notified to members in writing.

  • Payments are currently accepted by bank transfer.

  • Alternative payments processing can be provided via stripe or paypal at request but embers need to cover any processing fees and an admin fee of £20.

  • Payment of £240 per person equates to an annual membership and single week stay and is required for all members.

  • Couples can join and stay in the same week and are charged at £360 per week.

  • We can accept a minimum of £120 (£180 for couples) cash plus 12 hours (9 hours each for couples) of volunteer work per person per week stay.

  • Volunteer work can be offerred as payment and is considered a contribution of £10 per hour.

  • Members can agree a price for their stay (in advance of joining) based on what they can afford and are willing to work which will be confirmed in writing.

  • Members can pay more (time or money) towards the space if they choose but additional payments do not gain additional favours and are considered a donation in good faith.

  • Memership payment fees can be made in 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 12 instalments.

  • All payments are non-refundable.

  • Funds raised cover operating and improvement costs.

  • A maxiumum of 25% of funds raised are used to cover design and hosting fees to Snowdrops Sunsets and are not for equipment or improvements.

  • We can offer a tranfers service to collect or drop people at either Newcastle-Upon-Tyne or Durham bus or rail station.

  • Transfers to and from Newcastle cost £25 or £30 from Durham.

Usage Terms

  • Loud noise, gatherings parties, non-member guests, additional member guests, the use of poisons, pollutions and fly tipping are forbidden.

  • Any damage or observed repairs must be reported immediatley and may result in charges or reimbursement being sought. All memebrs sign an itinery when they arrive and any damages found after their stay will be attributes to them.

  • Intentional damage, sabbotage, misuse or violence will reuslt in the member being dismiised from membership.

  • Charges may be brought to the member and we may consider reporting any incidents as a crime.

  • We exepect members to be able to update our record keeping as requested and instructions will be given.

  • Guests will be greeted on arrival and shown around the site and inducted into our systems.

  • Wildlife must be respected while staying on site. Shooting, trap setting or "pest management" is not permitted to be excuted by members.

  • We do not allow illegal drugs on site.

  • Herbal and medicinal drugs are allowed and brought to our attention prior to a stay or at induction.

Other Terms

  • The project is designed and managed by Terri Leighs (Terri Lee-Shield) and she can be contacted at [email protected] or 07356143798.

  • All complaints must be made to the above channels.

  • Any unresolved complaints will be discussed at the Friends of meetings.

  • All updates, plans, terms, details, information and bookings can be found at: .

Privacy Policy

Fanny Bush Forest Garden is a part of Snowdrops Sunsets Retreats, created by Snowdrops Sunsets (registered name S.S. DISTRIBUTION LTD).
For the use of this site we the following privacy policy:

Contact Form

If you are interested in joining Friends of Fanny Bush or would like to find out more about the project, please use the contact form below to send a message.

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