From cancer diagnosis to living the dream on a smallholding

Former Vandyke Upper student Jo Dell who now runs Abbotts View Farm with her husband James wk 9 bc
Former Vandyke Upper student Jo Dell who now runs Abbotts View Farm with her husband James wk 9 bc

Jo and James Dell of Abbotts View Farm would seem to have it all. For three years they and their three daughters have been living the dream on a smallholding with an eco house they designed and built themselves, surrounded by a menagerie of animals including alpacas, pygmy goats and miniature ponies.

They hold several open days a year and are introducing Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day on Sunday, March 15.

Jo – who went to Vandyke Upper and trained as a midwife – says: “We’ve learned so much and achieved so much and the feedback has been incredible.

“We’ve been visited by some lovely people, including groups of brain-injured adults, inner city children, OAPs on days out, schools, beavers, cubs and corporate businesses.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming a hen party this year and we’ve also got an adult birthday party booked.

“We’ve just opened a Caravan Club certified location and we’re becoming busier and busier. We feel very very lucky.”

Yet before their move to Abbotts View Farm things were very different.

James had sold his satellite communications management company and the couple were’t sure what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go.

Then Jo was diagnosed with colon cancer.

She says: “I was 39 and there was no family history of cancer so it was a big shock to us all. But I was extremely lucky that it was caught early and was operable.

“It was actually a very positive time,” she smiles. “I felt very loved.”

James found the smallholding on the internet and they went to see it three weeks after Jo came out of hospital.

He says: “It was a huge challenge but just what we needed, something positive to focus on and move forward.”

Jo adds: “We’ve had a rough ride but we’re so privileged to be doing what we’re doing and we want to share it.

“We’re really keen to be accessible to specialist groups and our USP is that we are and always will be a private farm.”

Mother’s Day at Abbotts View

Treat your mum to a Mother’s Day she’ll remember for £12.95.

She’ll meet the animals including alpacas, sheep, pygmy goats, miniature ponies, ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs before tucking into an afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, home-made cakes and her choice of tea or coffee.

> To book call Jo on 07989 063595 or visit