Sometimes, I feel that things are just meant to be. Unexpectedly finding myself with access to a car, some nice weather and a free afternoon, I decided to seek out somewhere for my daily walk that was slightly further afield than my immediate backyard. Scrolling around Google Maps, Heartwork Coffee Bar in Holmbury St Mary jumped out at me, largely because I know the area reasonably well and wasn’t aware of any coffee shops there. An hour later, I was pulling up outside Bulmer Farm, home of Heartwork.
Heartwork is located at the back of the farm, on Pasture Wood Road, just off the B2126. The heart of the operation is an old horsebox, converted into a coffee bar, with a serving hatch at the front. There’s a standard espresso-based menu, using a bespoke blend roasted for Heartwork, backed up by hot chocolate, tea and a small selection of cakes, sandwiches and wraps. If you want to stay, then there’s a selection of seating, from outdoor, stand-up tables and low benches to a pair of barns with more tables and straw bales for seating. Just be aware that Heartland only has takeaway cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
It turned out that the main reason I wasn’t aware of Heartwork Coffee Bar was that it only started in January, when Sam and then business partner Ryan parked the horse box at the back gate of Bulmer Farm and started serving coffee to allcomers at weekends. Its popularity grew through word of mouth and come March and the start of COVID-19 pandemic, it had built up a considerable following.
However, while COVID-19 caused many other places to shut down, the opposite was true for Heartwork. With people staying in the area during the week and making the most of the glorious weather, Heartwork took the bold decision to open six days a week (it has Mondays off) and it hasn’t looked back! From its position by the gate, the horsebox has slowly retreated into the farmyard to make more space for the customers, with Sam converting one barn and half of another to provide sheltered seating.
Located in the heart of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounded by Holmbury, Leith and Pitch hills, Heartwork is very popular with walkers and cyclists (and others who don’t mind a bit of mud). Just off the B2126 on Pasture Wood Road, on the southern side of Holmbury St Mary, you need to go past to entrance to Bulmer Farm, where you’ll find a second, well-signposted gate leading to Heartwork. If you are coming by car, by the way, there’s no onsite parking, although you can park in the lane.
There’s an open barn to the left of the gate, followed by the horsebox itself, where you order from a small counter at the front. You can either collect your coffee there, if, like me, you get talking to the baristas, or take a seat/stand and the very friendly and efficient staff will bring your order out to you. There’s a second barn on the left, just beyond the horsebox, opposite which is more outdoor seating on the right. Beyond this are the farm buildings, which now operate as a bed & breakfast, originally started by Sam’s grandmother, while off to the right is a small stable block.
If you are staying to drink your coffee you have plenty of choice. The open barn to the left of the gate has straw bales down either side, and four barrels which can be used as tables, with a fifth, standing table on the right. In the winter, heating is provided by a stove at the back and two infrared heaters, one on each wall. Half of the second barn has also been converted into seating, with straw bales lining one wall. There’s a conventional tall table with four chairs, and two low tables made of old pallets. One, covered with a rug, is for sitting on, while the other has six straw bales for seats.
If you prefer to stay outside, then there are two standing tables immediately to the left of the gate, in front of the first barn, a third standing table opposite the horsebox and two more pallets beyond this on the right, complete with more (soggy when I was there) straw bales and a wooden bench. Finally, there’s another wooden bench outside of the second barn, although Sam is constantly expanding the seating area, so you can expect this to change over time.
When it comes to coffee, there’s a fairly standard espresso-based menu. I had a flat white in my Therma Cup, Heartwork’s bespoke blend going well with milk to produce some classic chocolate notes. It was the perfect way to warm up!
December 2020: Heartwork Coffee Bar has won the 2020 Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot Award.
|BULMER FARM • HOLMBURY ST MARY • DORKING • RH5 6LG|
|www.heartworkcoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 7487 506376|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Bespoke Blend (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 13:30||Seating||Standing Tables, Hay Bales, Pallets, Benches|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 13:30||Food||Cakes, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||08:30 – 13:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 13:30||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||09:00 – 15:00||Wifi||N/A|
|Sunday||09:00 – 15:00||Power||N/A|
|Chain||No||Visits||19th December 2020|
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