Angela found us whilst searching the internet and remembers visiting Dunfield House, she wrote to us recently and shared the following:
I stumbled upon Dunfield whilst looking for a route on Google Maps. I remember coming to Dunfield as a leader with a Colony Holiday group in the late 1960′s – I remember especially the caring environment and the fun that the children had. I also remember the visit to the farm and riding the pony. I also remember (with very mixed emotions – mostly horror!) the day I rashly suggested to my group of 12 year old girls (most of whom had never been outside a town environment ever!) that we could walk toWales….we survived!
I also recall it was Easter and I remember appreciating the care of the staff in helping us to cope with the chocolate egg situation with regard to one of our girls who had diabetes. All good memories – thank you – I have just enjoyed a nostalgic half hour looking through the website.
Colony Holidays 1972 Birmingham School 2010
Since 1965 we have been offering that caring environment where all guests can feel at home. If you would like to find out more about Dunfield’s magic for your school group acommodation for our remaining dates in 2012/2013, your church family camp, Retreat or any group event you are organising for 2012/2013 for a day event, weekend, mid week or full week activity please do not hesitate to contact us on 01544 230563 or email@example.com special discounts on remaining 2012 available dates.
It’s good to see young people enjoying themselves and Wantage ‘chill out’ Youth band did just that before Easter. Mind you ‘chill out’ was perhaps misleading as they worked really hard whilst they were here and also raised money for childrens holiday camps – for children who cannot afford such trips – many children will be helped by their and our local communities generosity.
Take a peep at the 2 photo’s below – Dunfield House is ideal for schools, orchestra’s, youth organisations and church groups who want to stay in affordable, beautiful surroundings which becomes the start not the end of a journey.
Sue, Paul, Joan or Keith will be happy to discuss what Dunfield can offer and how we can work with you to plan a really special and unique visit to Dunfield.
It’s been a really mild month weather wise, the snowdrops have been beautiful and the birds have been really confused with the weather, they have been singing their hearts out and we have had days when it seems like spring has arrived.
We saw the old year out with a wedding, 100 guests enjoyed up to three days of celebrations with the beauty of Dunfield making it a really special event. An opportunity to celebrate marriage within a limited budget without compromising the chance to be in a beautiful house, in a beautiful setting, with fantastic food and surrounded by family and friends.
Check out these photo’s on:
January has been a busy month with new groups, returning groups and music in the house, be it jazz, rock, pop or African drumming, a European conference gathering, graduate and volunteer training…phew!
Something for everyone, adaptable group accommodation to meet the needs of the diverse number of groups that visit the centre, a recent Facebook message from James says it all……… Dunfield is beautiful all year round – I miss the cosy fire and the wonderful people that I’ve met there and the staff who make Dunfield the most amazing place on earth – miss you guys x
Aldridge School, West Midlands, has a long and proud tradition of outstanding music provision and we are also proud at Dunfield to have been associated with the school since 1984. The school brings two music courses to Dunfield each year and this means we have many students visiting Dunfield, who exemplify the very best in the outstanding talent that they bring to the school and to Dunfield.
Joe has been on school group visits to Dunfield for the past 10 years, firstly as a student and then as a mentor and staff member – he clocked up his 20th visit earlier this month.
We look foward to Aldridge school visiting in March & October 2012. Happy to share their music video of one of their rehearsals, bear with us as we get this set up on youtube.
In the mean time, please contact Sue & Paul on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01544 230563 and we can send you a link.
We recieved an email recently from Angela Holyoaks who was revisiting places she visited as a child, Dunfield House was one of those places when it was the home and business of an antiquarian bookseller. This would have been back in the 1950s. Her father, also a bookseller, used to buy books from the owner and she can remember some of the most cherished times of her childhood staying in the house and visiting the home farm behind which used to be [and still is] farmed by the Watkins family. She was especially friendly with the daughter, Joyce, and infact stayed on my own at the farm on a couple of occasions.
We were able to put Angela and Joyce in contact with each other and they have rekindled a childhood friendship. Angela very kindly accepted our request to write about her visits to Dunfield, her feelings and memories of Dunfield are the same as those we try to foster today for everyone that visits.
MEMORIES OF DUNFIELD IN THE 1950’S - Angela Holyoak July 2011
I was about seven or eight when I first visited Dunfield with my parents. My father was an Antiquarian Bookseller and so was Mr Smith, whose wife ran the house as a guest house.
I remember a rambling grey and white old house with lots of gables, like a building out of a fairy tale. I loved it at first sight and felt very much at home within its walls and gardens and eating all the delicious home-produced food post rationing. I used to tumble down the terrace in front and go off to explore, especially the spring with the pump which supplied the water to the house. I also remember tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle having lived in the house at some stage, and imagining a dog from ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ baying in the marshes beyond the house as the mists enveloped the mountains. Scary stuff for an eight year old!!
I lived in a town, so the country was an adventure ground to my young mind. As an only child, I was introduced to the children at the Home Farm behind the house; this belonged to the Watkins family. I made friends with Joyce, who was my age and the oldest, and her siblings, Dorothy and Dilys, also a younger brother called Philip. I was in heaven running around the farmyard, helping with the sheep and no doubt collecting eggs and climbing up the adjacent mountain to bring in the cattle and sheep.
I remember the thrill of being on horseback for the first time in my young life, on Pedro, the family’s pony, with Danny the terrier trying to tidy us up. The farmyard sported a hand-held pump with another one in the kitchen next to a huge white belfast sink. Bacon joints hung from hooks in the ceiling, which was yellow with age from years of frying hearty farmer’s breakfasts.
At some stage Mr and Mrs Watkins very kindly suggested I stay with them on the farm; I felt so grown up and don’t remember feeling home-sick at all. Joyce came to stay at our house in Bournemouth when and she remembers she found our town life rather strange. It had theatres, big shops, cinemas and the sea!!
For years all I ever wanted to do was to marry a farmer and have six children. That never happened, but it was the completeness I experienced at Dunfield that gave birth and nurtured the idea. On being reunited with Joyce recently, thanks to Sue and an excellent web-site, the farmer’s daughter assures me that she enjoyed an idyllic childhood. Thank you Dunfield for opening my eyes and heart to a rural way of life. I can honestly say that visits spent there were the happiest times of my childhood.
James Ferris [West Midlands] emailed…………..
Thank you for an outstanding residential last week ! The children loved it and so did the staff!
Therefore…. to get in early could we please book next year ..
Helen Cole, Cambridge writes:
I brought a school group to Dunfield House for 22 years and enjoyed every one of them. As a family my husband, daughter and son-in-law have stayed and always been treated like royalty. With a large school group our days were filled with visits to museums and Forestry centres and plenty of beautiful walks.
We always knew we would come back to a good meal and endless fun in the grounds.
The children loved the fun of rolling down hills after the flat of Cambridgeshire.Our last evening was always a bonfire and camp songs except for my retirement year when I was treated to a Ceilidh – thanks Sue.
I watched Dunfield House develop to the comfortable place it is today. I admire what you have done.
Jill and Linda from Nuneaton said it was a wonderful experience, even for those with limited mobility, thank you
We have limited midweek and weekend dates available in September, October, November & December 2011 still available – plan some time away with family and friends, have something to look forward to over the autumn/winter period.
Get out and about with some amazing walks to suit all ages and abilities, have fun [or some exercise] in our indoor heated pool, play football, volleyball, table tennis, chess, or board and box games indoors and then relax in our cosy lounge with its woodburner.
Once onsite you can leave the car in the car park and we suggest that you won’t want to leave at the end of your stay.
Catered or part catered option available on request.
Contact Sue or Paul for more information by phone 01544 230563 or email: email@example.com
We have finished our Stables refurbishment - its been a busy few months but so worth the efforts of so many people to make this happen, from the decision makers to the builders to the Dunfield staff, to those who prayed for the project in its vision stage through to completion, everyone had a part to play in making this happen two weeks sooner than anticipated and in budget!
St Aldates Church Group from Oxford arrive on Friday evening and had a wonderful weekend of fellowship, prayer and praise – the weekend exceeded their expectations. The Stables is also popular as a centre for school group accommodation either to remain onsite and use the facilities we have or use the centre as a base to explore the area.
The Stables is also a very popular centre for family holidays. The level access facilities, swimming pool and 15 acres of grounds promote something for all ages from the very youngest in your family to the grand and even great grandparents, there is nothing better than all members of the family being together – lasting memories are made of times like this.
The picture below is a taster of the work that has been carried out - please see our Flickr album for more photographs of the Stables. If you would like to book the Stables please do not hesitate to contact us on 01544 230563 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click on the link below for an amazing video into what can be achieved
in one weekend at Dunfield
beautiful blue skies today, warm and just right for showing people around, one of whom came as a child and wants to bring the people he works with to the centre. A visitor last week came 23 years ago with her school [who still visit now] and never forgot what a fabulous time she had.
It has been a busy February, with groups in every weekend, the builders beavering away in the Stables and it is looking really good and our staff alternating between their day job and our ‘team building days’ of decorating and spring cleaning.
At the end of January we held a young adult training weekend and it was brilliant to see so many committed young adults wanting to make a positive difference in the world – why do we never have guys like that on the news????