Self sufficient(ish)

Nat Wilkins photographs a family building its future

Keeping track of the Maurice family’s business interests is tricky – from the tent and marquee hire business that grew up through a decade on the festival circuit, to the most recent ventures rooted in the new home that Jonah and Louise are building in the north Pennines. Each business is as fascinating as the next: horse logging, silver jewellery, puppet theatre, large-scale sculpture, mobile saw-mill, grave-digging, wood- red pizza ovens and pop-up shops that sell any of the myriad products that seasonally emerge from their smallholding.


The patch of land for their latest ambition, timber frame house-building, was purchased four years ago and cost all of the family’s life savings. It’s 15 acres of steep-sided conifer plantation, broad-leaved woodland, a stream, pasture and meadows. Since then Maurice family life has evolved around establishing a smallholding, returning a woodland to one worthy of conserving whilst producing timber, and navigating a planning system that’s complex enough to put anyone off ever pursuing their dreams of home-making.


Read the full version in The Northern Correspondent #6