Goxhill Meadows is a small glamping site nestled next to the Georgian St Giles church in the hamlet of Goxhill. It’s the dream of owner Jayne Haigh and her family including her husband Paul and their three children.
They have always loved the outdoors and had a lifelong ambition to own their own smallholding. Having spent over 30 years camping and seeking small and friendly campsites offering natural outdoor experiences off-the beaten track. Jayne recalls: “as a child with my parents we had farm holidays in Devon and I always dreamed that one day I would live somewhere like that.”
Jayne had a pony as a child and when their daughter Rosie began riding it reignited the passion for horses and ponies. It became a hobby mother and daughter could share. They acquired their small holding at Goxhill and noticed in lockdown how much the experience helped them cope. Jayne explained: “I feel really lucky that we moved here. Being outdoors with animals in a natural environment really helped us.”
Extra family members have been on hand to help in the lockdown. This includes one son who returned home from the forces and their other son who returned home from university. Both having helped complete various projects.
The glamping site contains three insulated landpods for rental all set within a large meadow on the small holding.
Those staying can bring their dogs and even their horses! There is a route for the horses all the way down to the beach at Mappleton. The sides of the landpods open so guests can stargaze from the comfort of their bed. Comfortably sleeping up to five each pod also comes with solar lighting, beds, picnic table and BBQ firepit / stove. Each pod also has its own sun / rain canopy. There is also a showerpod with eco-friendly toilet and the use of an outdoor covered kitchen in the form of a converted horsebox.
Therapeutic benefits of animals
Talking about the reasons for opening the glamping site Jane said: “we wanted to be able to give other people the experience of being out in nature and experience the therapeutic benefits of being around animals too.”
Another area where Jayne has noticed the huge impact is with her own mother. She lives on site with them and is in her 80s with Alzheimer’s. The horses have a calming connection with her and despite no longer recognising family members the horses still make her smile.
Jayne has invested many hours into reading, studying and gaining qualifications on the impact animals, particularly horses, can have on people. She added: “Horses can impact humans in an unbelievable way. Horses are also becoming increasingly recognised for their beneficial role in interventions designed to improve mental health and wellbeing, especially in relation to PTSD and other forms of trauma. Just being around horses can help all of us become better human beings.”
Children and animal therapy
After spending the last 20 years in primary education Jayne has a clear vision of combining her two passions. She explained: “What is really clear is how much children love being on the site. I’ve spent a lot of time hands-on with children. It’s great to give them experiences they might not otherwise have had. In the gap between lockdowns, we have had visits from Hornsea Beavers and our Goxhill ponies have become famous with people walking from the rail trail specially to see them.”
When lockdown relaxations allowed last year, Jayne worked with groups of vulnerable pupils from a secondary school in Hull. She commented: “The connection the children have with the animals when they come is amazing. The children that visited included disadvantaged children, those with special educational needs, and children with social and behavioural difficulties. They come here and listen and learn and follow instructions having the utmost respect for both the animals and myself.”
Jayne has a license from East Riding Council to allow her to keep and train animals for exhibition. So far the animals at Goxhill Meadows include five horses, three alpacas, three pigmy goats, five Hebridean sheep and some rescue chickens.
Jayne is now looking forward to expanding her work with schools and other organisations. She is currently devising programs for visits. With her background in education she can adapt any subject to outdoor learning. As part of the work they have completed in lockdown, various outdoor natural areas have been cleared to provide flexible learning areas. Jayne has been commissioned to work with a national cancer charity. This is doing equine assisted activities and therapy this summer. When lockdown is lifted Jayne is also hoping to be able to offer looked after children day and residential experiences.
If any schools or groups are interested in outdoor / animal sessions at Goxhill Meadows please contact Jayne to arrange a complimentary trial session and to discuss your requirements. Full details can be found on the website goxhillmeadows.co.uk or e-mail: [email protected] or phone 07470 125121.