Meet the team

Our friendly team are food lovers, gardening fanatics and passionate about what they do each day. Alongside these key members we welcome professionals in their fields to run inspiring courses throughout the year.

Karen with Pi

Karen Phillips

Karen studied aeronautical engineering and despite the high ratio of men to women decided not to pursue this as a career. Ten years ago she started to run gardening courses after studying horticulture and then lecturing at Kirkley Hall College. She has a natural passion for combining gardening and incredible cooking to provide a healthy balance. Your glass, plate and heart will be filled.

Lauren Waugh

Lauren discovered Linnels Farm via a Foraging Course the day after moving house, then applied for a job and has become an invaluable addition to the team. With a background in textiles her eye for detail can be seen clearly in the choice of products for the shop. Her knowledge on veg growing in the North East stems from 10+ years as an allotment holder. Lauren’s calm, unflappable demeanour comes in as handy with her three young children and as it does for her hobby of beekeeping.

Andy Snell

Andy - 'Papaya'

Andy’s renowned lunches are an integral part of the courses. “Papaya”: Andy’s bespoke catering business, draws on his wide-ranging international experience to bring exotic flavours to our lunches whilst still valuing our local identity. Many of the herbs, vegetables and fruit he uses come from his own garden. Whilst sharing his wealth of culinary knowledge, Andy’s belief that cooking should be fun is reflected in the relaxed atmosphere of the rare and oversubscribed courses he can sometimes be persuaded to teach: BBQ and Street Food to name but a few.

Lucy Sandys Clark

Lucy Sandys-Clarke

A sourdough baking course in 2016 turned Lucy from and enthusiastic bread eater into a dedicated bread maker. A few years and several hundreds of practice loaves later, she introduced herself to Karen clutching a sourdough loaf still warm from the oven, and before long they were swapping recipes and planning a course for students at Linnels Farm. When not working or cooking, she is most likely to be found in the veg patch, walking her scrappy terrier, or flicking wistfully through recipe books. She continues to eat a lot of bread.

Simon Phillips

Simon Phillips

After a career in the quarrying industry Simon swapped big machinery for powertools. He’s a one-man machine: simply mention a job and it’s finished before you’ve fully decided! With a dry sense of humour he’ll try and convince you that chainsaws and jackhammers are the sound of the countryside. Simon’s the influence and hard work behind Linnels Barns but when not ‘renovating’ you’ll find him down by the river throwing sticks for his 3 ‘girls’: Kruger, Pi and Ouzel.

Where to find us

Located in rural countryside in Northumberland but only 2 miles from Hexham and 20 miles from Newcastle, it's hard to believe we're only 3 hours on a train from London, or 20 minutes from Newcastle airport.