Nicky spent the 1990s hurtling around London and the M25. Working as an Art Consultant, she advised corporate clients and commissioned site specific artworks.
Simon and Nicky bought Monks in 1998, and moved to Devon. For the next three years Nicky made thousands of cups of tea for Steve Gallimore and his brilliant team as they worked to re-roof and repair the beautiful granite farm buildings.
As the building team restored the buildings, Nicky created the garden saying, “Designing and making a garden from scratch made me so happy. Clearing brambles and barbed wire and nettles, rotavating, barrowing out endless wheelbarrows of manure from the outbuildings, marking out the flower beds, seeding the lawns, planting hedges and trees, and finally placing roses, and shrubs and bulbs. Heaven is indeed in a garden!”
As the garden developed, the internal spaces also took shape. The Haybarn, with its three lovely windows looking out towards Dartmoor, evolved almost without conscious thought into The Gallery.
The Roundhouse – built in the 1860s to accommodate the milling of corn and wheat – became Simon and Andy’s Mastering Studio, Super Audio Mastering.
The Cow Barn provided a lovely home for Simon’s parents, Joy and Jim Heyworth and now 15 years on there are plans for the Corn Barn too.
Since 2011, Monks Withecombe has been a Licensed Wedding Venue, offering do-it-yourself country-style weddings hosting four or so every year since.
And of course, last but not least the middle Hay Barn became The Gallery, with contemporary artwork glowing on the walls and the genius of the artists framed by long views to Dartmoor.
It has been wonderful to show paintings by Katherine Lightfoot of Devon ponies and sheep and by Danny Adams of Dartmoor in all its moods. Our current exhibition “Catherine Forshall at Monks Withecombe” is a particular delight. Her glorious flower paintings fill the mind and heart with memories of summer gardens.