Restore and Reform at Fair Oak Farm, Sussex, England
Bespoke, medically-accredited rehabilitation programmes at a delightful farm retreat in Sussex
Enterprising young company Restore and Reform runs weekend and week-long rehabilitation retreats on set dates at Fair Oak Farm near Mayfield in Sussex, aimed at anyone recovering from illness or surgery, who wants to address long-term pain issues, or who wants to get back on their feet after pregnancy or cancer treatment. Enjoy daily intensive sessions of physiotherapy, soft tissue therapy and Reformer Pilates, alongside moral support and good food in a delightful countryside venue. The team liaise closely with surgeons in every field, who are rightly keen for their patients to take effective time out to focus on their recovery.
The top of the league team, who have daily meetings to discuss the needs and progress of each individual and will have liaised with any surgeons or physiotherapists you have been using at home, making this a truly bespoke treatment holiday. They also make it fun.
Anyone coming to Fair Oak Farm needs to be aware that you will need to mount some steep steps leading to some of the accommodation and also to the farmhouse entrance.
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Carla MacKay reviews this rehabilitation holiday with Restore and Reform at Fair Oak Farm in Sussex and finds a gorgeous shepherds hut, excellent therapy, like-minded company and a huge boost for her morale.Have a peek
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Each guest has a detailed individual timetable of meal times, free time and therapy hours for physiotherapy, soft tissue therapy and Reformer Pilates, and there are also group classes daily.
Everyone has individual consultations with Restore and Reform co-founder Michelle Lewis – one if you are on a weekend retreat, and three to four if you are on a week-long retreat. Michelle is a fantastically intuitive and experienced physio who has worked in some of London’s most prestigious practices including Six Physio, Beyond Health and King Edward VII private hospital. She is also fully qualified in Acupuncture. Her specialist interest is in function and movement, and the other therapies you will receive depend on what she recommends for you personally. Her passion for helping her patients coupled with her sense of humour make her sessions the highlights of one’s stay. Michelle also takes a Restore class every morning using foam rollers.
These sessions take place with Restore and Reform co-founder Lucy Nifontova, who is a STOTT trained instructor with a special interest in injury rehabilitation who became passionate about the value of Reformer Pilates whilst recovering herself from complex spinal surgery. For first-timers who may feel daunted by what appears to be an instrument of torture, worry not, because Lucy will immediately put you at your ease and explain how to exercise completely safely and very effectively on this wonder machine. Great for building endurance, strength and flexibility though resistance.
This is massage at its finest delivered by Abigail Smith, a Level 5 instructor in Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy. Abi will concentrate on your areas of concern (with input from Michelle) and she really gets to the root of the problem. She has worked with elite athletes across different sports including Saracens premiership rugby team as well as British Olympic athletes so there’s no doubting her competence and professionalism.
Abi also takes Stretch and Release classes with a maximum of six clients.
Watch films in the Cinema Room or book yourself a treatment at The Beauty Bar, which his run by a local business and offer all kinds of facial and body beauty treatments and a nail bar. Soak in the on-site outdoor hot tub or explore the glorious 12 and a half acres of farmland. The stunning rolling countryside of the Sussex High Weald lends itself to long walks and cycling. Mayfield, two miles away, is a lovely, historic little town with a small supermarket, excellent pubs and independent shops. Tunbridge Wells is 20 minutes by car.
There are six traditional and comfortable bedrooms in the farmhouse itself. Nearby are two circular eco-lodge tree houses which are quirky and elegant, if a little chilly in winter, and two shepherds’ huts, which are tiny but perfect, each boasting a built-in double bed, a wood-burning stove and a bathroom with shower. There are also two 1-bedroom cottages and two double-bed suites. All the rooms are beautifully done up and well equipped.
Other spaces to be
For quiet time, take yourself off to the hot tub hidden away near a pond, or there are various nooks in which to sit and read a book.
In winter take a warm coat to negotiate your way round the site and make friends with the resident tribe of peacocks and alpacas – the alpaca wool is used for clothing which can be bought from the Fair Oak Collection.
When to Go
Fair Oak Farm is warm and cosy in winter thanks to log fires, a toasty farmhouse kitchen and very efficient oil filled radiators. In summer you will appreciate the lush greenness all around and the beautiful gardens.
You eat in the farmhouse, where there is a traditional large farmhouse kitchen and dining area with an Aga, and a large terrace area outside complete with a wood-burning barbeque and a fire pit.
Restore and Reform used their own cook for simple but nourishing home-cooked breakfasts and lunches. Breakfast might be avocado and egg on toast with a green juice; lunch a fabulous big salad such as chicken Caesar on one day, and barbequed broccoli on another. Dinners were catered for us by a local company The Wealden Kitchen, who produce delicious, creative dishes such as garlicky meatballs, roasted salmon, a Thai beef salad and eye watering smelly cheeses instead of pudding.
Restore and Reform provide really good white and red wine if you want to indulge during your stay. Vegans and vegetarians can be catered for.
The whole ethos of the owner of Fair Oak Farm centres around sustainability. The owner deals with trusted local suppliers for everything from logs to food, and his Fairoak Foundation mission statement promises to continually improve sustainable tourism practices that preserve and safeguard local culture, wildlife habitats and national heritage whilst providing ecological and economic benefits to the local community.
Fair Oak Farm, Witherenden Road, Mayfield
Transfer time: 50 minutes