Couple who moved their family from London to Cornwall for a dream life in the country reveal how they have woken up with snow in their bed, faced ‘tragic’ financial setbacks, emergency operations and even been sectioned – but DON’T regret relocating
A couple have revealed how moving from Londra to their dream life on the rugged cliffs of Cornwall took a toll on both their mental, physical and financial health.
Former photographer, Davina Foster, 39, and builder Todd Read Bloss moved out of the capital in 2018, in order to raise their family on 3.315 acre of land they bought next to a cliff in Perranporth, Cornovaglia.
On tonight’s Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, they reveal how they live in a bubble caravan with their four children, Michael, 17 and Saffron, 15, who are Davina’s children from a previous relationship, and Ruby, nove, e Harry, tre.
They make money by rearing pigs and chickens and working towards a self-sufficient life, with campers paying to pitch their tent on their land to make extra cash.
While on the surface, the couple seem to live the good life, they admitted working the land with no training and the challenging Cornish winters have taken a toll on their bodies and minds over the years.
Davina admitted the family had no savings left and while they are now financially in the clear, they have faced ‘tragic’ precarity over the years. She also revealed she once woke up with snow on her bed when the Beast from the East ravaged the UK in 2018.
She also revealed how a bad reaction to anti-depressants after giving birth lead her to having a manic episode and being sectioned, while Todd has a slipped disk in his back which lead to him taking 12 Tramadols a day.
Also living on the plot of land are Davina’s older children from another relationship, Michael, 17 and Saffron, 15, who were away the day the episode was filmed (raffigurato in 2019, sinistra)
In tonight’s episode of New Lives in the Wild, Ben Fogle travels to the Cliff of Perramporth, to meet Davina Foster, 39, and Todd Read Bloss, who moved there from London in 2018 with their four children including Ruby, nine and Harry, tre
The couple bought 3.314 acres of land and started a small holding, with Todd, giusto, teaching himself by reading self-sufficient and farming literature
Nel frattempo, Todd revealed he suffered from five slipped discs in his back and lost some of his mobility following a back surgery to fix the issue.
In spite of those challenging setbacks, the couple do not regret their decision to move out of London, referring to their life in the city as a ‘nightmare.’
They said their life on the cliff’s edge was beyond anything they could have imagined when they first moved to Cornwall.
‘It is incomparably different,’ Davina told Ben. ‘We certainly didn’t think when we moved to Cornwall that we would be moving this significantly. Ma alla fine, this land came up, and we just fell in love with it so much,’ lei ha aggiunto.
‘As a piece of land, we knew it would be farm with a bit of campsite, as opposed to campsite with a bit of farm. But it could never have gone more perfectly, because we would have never gone into farming as a thing,’ the mother-of-four said.
Davina also admitted the hard winters had been a challenge to get through, especially the family’s first winter on the cliff, nel 2018.
‘The winds can be very depressing. they can be really, Rimasi con lei tre o quattro settimane perché non poteva fare niente.. One winter, it was so muddy that we couldn’t actually get onto our land.
‘But what we ended up having to do was to park on the nearest street, which is still a good 10 minuti’ walk away, and walk back home climbing the edge rail with the kids and we did that for that whole winter. That was when Harry was a baby, the mother-of-four added.
‘The winters can be very demoralising. They can undo everything you’ve done in the spring and summer. But once you get the Spring and the Summer back, you’re reminded why you’re here.
‘When we got the Beast from the East, I woke up and there’s basically snow at the bottom of my bed. It was physically getting through the keyholes. Bloody ridiculous,’ lei disse.
Todd and Davina has faced financials setbacks and battled the tough Cornish winters since moving there
The couple’s four kids are school educated, including Ruby and Harry, and Davina admitted on the show she needs to pay for school, uniforms and clubs
This was a breaking point for Davina, chi ha detto: ‘I just remember thinking ‘it’s March, and there’s snow on my bed, what the hell are we doing?'.’
Asked by Ben what keeps the family in Cornwall when the winters get so rough, Davina candidly admitted the couple stay due to lack of options.
‘It’d be great to leave for Winter and just be here in the summer, but this is where we live and I think we realised quite early on that if we were gonna do this, there was going to be some grit and determination.
‘And I think you make a commitment to something, non è vero? This is not going to work with a ‘oh, if we don’t fancy it we’ll just leave it for a couple of months.’ You have to be resilient,’ lei ha aggiunto.
Listening to the mother-of-four, Ben said it almost sounded like Davina and Todd are ‘prisoners on their little patch of land.’
And Davina went on to say that the couple also have had to make due with precarious financial situations in the past, as well as the tough weather.
‘We did once had money set aside but I can’t pretend there’s any of that left. intendo, financially it’s been pretty tragic at times over the past few years. But we’re getting there now. And the finances are stabilising,’ lei ha aggiunto.
Davina said that while the couple have faced challenges since they moved to Cornwall, she does not regret her decision to live the big city
‘I’m hoping in three years we’ll be pretty much food sufficient. but we are a normal family who have needs.
‘We don’t home school the kids, clubs need to be paid for, uniforms still need to be paid for,’ lei ha aggiunto.
Unlike other people who have chosen to live off grid, Davina and Todd are not trying to live cash-free.
‘We’re not looking to live a completely money free existence. We’re looking to have a thriving, profitable business,’ Davina explained.
Todd echoed this sentiment when he told Ben: ‘The council know exactly where they are and what we’re doing.’
But the builder-turned-farmer, who taught himself how to take care of his small holding, admitted it has taken a toll on his health.
Todd suffered from five slipped discs two years ago, a painful back condition which occurs when the tissue between the bones pushes out and presses on the nerve.
He admitted he postponed a back surgery to remedy the issue for a year before he had no choice but to go to the hospital.
‘I was ploughing on with it really and it got to the point where I was in such pain I was taking 12 Tramadols a day, I was completely zombified,’ disse a Ben.
Trampoline enthusiast Ruby attends the local school while her parents work on the farm during the day, and she livens up the farm when she comes home every night
The couple live in static caravans on the plot of land and are working towards food sufficiency . Campers also pay to stay on he farm during the summer
‘I ended up at home on the floor crying underneath a blanket and Davina had to call an ambulance,’ ha ammesso.
‘It was a horrible time, it was almost a year on Tramadol. They cut off some of the protruding discs. They took 4 centimetres of the base of my spine I can’t lie on my front anymore,’ Ha aggiunto.
The surgery has limited his mobility, and he admitted it has been a tough time for both him and Davina.
‘You always have to do all the jobs and it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t easy for Davina, me being out of service for so long,’ Egli ha detto.
‘It makes me feel a bit useless because that is my role here, the physical side of it and the strength side of it. If we had to hire someone else, it wouldn’t be viable,’ Ha aggiunto.
Ben admitted he was scared for the future of the farm, due to Todd’s poor help and said the couple are ‘skating on very thin ice.’
Davina also opened up about how a bad experience with anti-depressants that saw her getting sectioned.
She was prescribed with Sertraline after the birth of her son Harry, and suffered a bout of hyper mania because of it.
Davina admitted the couple have faced ‘tragic’ financial situations since they moved to Cornwall, as well as dire winters
Todd told the hard labour he does on the farm took a toll on him when he ended up with five slipped disc and ended up needing emergency surgery
She told Ben that during a particularly demanding weekend when Todd was away, she did not sleep nor eat for 48 ore.
Davina was eventually seen by a doctor five days later, who told her her mental health issues had been a result of a bad reaction to Sertraline, and that her anti-depressants had caused this manic episode.
Davina told Ben the experience had a ‘massive impact’ on her and her family.
‘When I think some of the things we gone through, we’re lucky to be on our legs, We’re lucky that keeping going is enough right now,’ lei disse.
però, in spite of these setbacks, the couple assured Ben they do no regret their decision to leave the rat race to move to Cornwall.
Davina and Todd live in several static campervans put together on their land.
When they bought the land five years ago, there was nothing on it, and they had to build the fencing and the other infrastructures needed to look after their farm animals.
There was no running water on the land for the first few months the couple moved to the farm, but they eventually got a supply.
They also explained to Ben they rely on a wind turbine and solar power in order to live.
The couple look after 100 rescued chicken, ducks and pigs, and Todd told Ben he taught himself by reading books on self-sufficiency and small holdings.
They make money by selling their pigs at the market, and while Todd is vegetarian, the rest of the family do eat meat, and eat their own pigs and chickens.
As a mother of four mixed-raced children, Davina also talked to Ben about the institutional racism that is ‘rife’ in bigger cities.
‘Just the fact that I’ve managed to get my son at almost 17 without ever being stopped and searched, as sad as it might be to say, that’s enough reason in itself to come out of London,’ lei disse.
Ben asked her whether she thought that ‘the darker your skin the more likely you are to be stopped?’ and Davina said she did.
‘I have to honestly say that things like the high level of stop and search for young black boys, even with a mixed-race son, it’s not about the shade, it is about non-white and white.
‘And this is the funny thing. You move somewhere like Cornwall, where there is a lot less racial diversity, but for us it’s meant we’ve been able to escape institutional racism that seems much more rife in the cities. And north London, sud est di Londra, sai, I grew up there, l'ho visto, we all saw it,’ lei disse.
‘In the city you are more of a number. Here you’re much more connected. Everyone knows everyone,’ lei ha aggiunto.
Ben admitted he has been ‘shielded’ from the issues faced by Davina and her family.
Todd also said he does not miss the big city life, which he said used to be a ‘nightmare’ per lui.
‘When I lived in London I had a building company, and I had to travel two hours a day to go to work. I barely saw the family really because I would leave pretty much as they got up and would come back just as they were going to bed.
‘I used to never get a seat on the train, I used to take my own little folding stool on the train, it was just a nightmare,’ Egli ha detto.
While the couple admitted they don’t always agree, Davina said they have complementary personalities.
‘I love that we make one whole person, or many one and a half,’ lei disse, adding her and Todd would be ‘lost without each other.’
Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.