Our story

We are Lorraine and Mark…and we simply love what we do and sharing this special place with you. In early 2019 that we found the hidden gem that is Valley View, and knew instantly that we could ‘live our best life’ here.

We have a mixed bag of life experience behind us:


  • left school at 15 and worked in a garden centre.
  • started his own nursery producing two million bedding plants a year.
  • worked with renewables to clean up troubled inner city areas and educate, local communities
  • was a member of Teesdale and Weardale Mountain rescue for six years
  • is both a Mountain Leader and a single pitch climbing instructor
  • trained teachers and young people in the outdoors for Durham County
  • ran a landscaping business
  • IS PASSIONATE ABOUT WILDLIFE and has designed the site to optimise its animal, bird and insect life while is using his skills to create a haven where guests can truly enjoy the natural elements.
  • ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS Mark maintains the site, from securing to the steps to fixing the fairy lights and everything in-between.


  • worked in marketing in the ‘low tech’ era
  • brought up four children in Beijing China
  • presented a cooking programme on Chinese Central Television
  • set up a cookery school
  • wrote a book, ‘Why the Chinese Don’t Count Calories
  • teaches various style of yoga and wellness
  • IS PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD and the relationship between diet and wellbeing and loves creating simple nourishing vegetarian dishes from Marks home grown vegetables.
  • ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS Lorraine runs the the ‘office’ trying to manage the transition from low tech to high tech. She also looks after the cabins with much help from the the third member of the team, Pat, and teaches yoga both live and online.

In our spare time

  • we mostly care for our menagerie (see below)
  • we talk about how we can best combine business and lifestyle, customer comfort and care of the earth.
  • Mark hikes up hills in the Lake District
  • Lorraine rides her pony Mille
  • we do a long distance walk a year. Recently we have done The Cleveland Way, The Teesdale Way and The Dales Highway.

A bit about our special site

As well as the ancient woodland where you will find your cabin, we have created an extensive vegetable garden, a forest garden (designed not to disturb tree-roots), and separate areas for the furry and feathered members of the household (see below). New for 2023 was the eco-reservoir to water the site and offer a sanctuary to pond life.

We try to live according to permaculture principles, which is about minimising consequences and nurturing regeneration. This means working with nature and caring for the earth and growing food in an ecologically efficient way. We love to share this journey with guests.

Mark feeds the eco system of the soil to create a natural growing environment. By encouraging and supporting wildlife he foster sa system of natural pest control and creates a safe haven where species can replenish their numbers and we, and you, can enjoy the changing seasons and circle of life. We have plenty of natural fertiliser from…

Our Menagerie (we love showing you round this too)

Freya and Rosie – the dogs

Rosie is a Labrador/Spaniel mix who loves a tummy tickle and Freya is a ‘desert dog’ from Macedonia who believes she is brave guard dog. You may meet us out walking – we keep them on the leads in the vicinity of the site and all the time when birds are nesting.

Pip and Dazzle – the cats

Pip was found on the road with a broken jaw and leg. He may have used up one of his nine lives but at 13 is a beautiful athletic cat.

Dazzle is an old lady at 16 years old and loves to snooze in warm spots. But don’t let her fool you, she will take on a dog three times her size if cornered!

Small furries

We have seven rabbits. Our first pair, Yogi and Spice, were a present from Mark for a special birthday. Then during Covid we were so sad to learn that so many bunnies had been abandoned that Mark set to work building a massive rabbit run complex and we adopted, Bramble, Bugs and Seraphina. Then came Andy Pandy and Zebedee a curious cross between a wild rabbit and an escaped pet. Despite their looks they have zero wild rabbit instincts and love their run and climbing frame

And kept totally separate from the rabbits is Noodle, Mark’s ferret. He just appeared one day (probably having heard that the rations were good here). He is very tame, if a bit nippy, and likes nothing better than to run round Mark’s shed.

Feathered friends

At the time of writing we have four ducks. One, young Gaby (short for Gabriel), is convinced she is a chicken. And 21 actual chickens. Thirteen are ex battery hens and go by the collective name of ‘gannets’ because they eat so much. Then there are two bantam cockerels, Mr Chips and his son Bertie; Pippa and Jude, super hens; the gentle Matilda; Angel, a silky bantam, foster mother to Gab; two ‘black devils’, because they are so bad tempered, and Satan their daughter/grandaughter,

The ponies

We have been fortunate to secure extra grazing up at Robin Hoods Bay so you may not see our ponies but for the record we have two Shetlands, Tony and Charlie, and two veteran riding ponies, Millie and Sooty. They are all much loved and enjoy the view and the windy weather that keeps away the flies. If we are not on site the odds are we are visiting them.