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The couple who quit their high paid jobs to live off-grid

The couple who quit their high paid jobs to live off-grid

Charis and Matthew live a very different lifestyle to your average family


A family who escaped the “rat race” of the city to live completely off grid have revealed that their only bill left is council tax. Seven years ago, Essex vets Charis and Matthew Watkinson decided to drop everything and start afresh.

For the pair it was a big, and daunting idea – not least due to their lack of farming experience. But, now parents to Elsa, five, and 18-month-old Billy, the family of four have found a way to adapt to everything from their man-powered washing machine to their horse-poo powered cooking gas by using solely the land they live off.

Speaking from Beeview Farm in Pembrokeshire, Charis, 34, said: “We were in Essex when the London riots were going on and they got within a mile of us on the last night. “Then there was the Occupy London which was all about relying on consumerism and that affected us we did rely on shops. “We just figured we wanted to be able to look after ourselves and be a bit more self sufficient.” For the couple the idea continued to grow, prompted by some research into today’s climate crisis.

The Essex vet added: “Neither of us are from Wales but we knew about Newport as we had been camping here and loved the area. “I think by the time we handed in our notices I knew I needed to do it. As we were just locuming after we moved we didn’t have a job lined up so living without a stable plan was a big thing. But we were ready to get going. “Otherwise we would have bought [a house] – we almost had it that way with a mortgage and a job but we didn’t want to carry on with the rat race.
We almost did it without thinking about it.”

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Images: Robert Melen

Images: Matthew and Charis Watkinson