Cath Morgan has realised her dream of opening her own yoga studio - in her back garden in the Peak District.
Using local experts and materials, and overcoming initial concerns about the impact on parking and traffic in Hathersage, she has transformed a tumbledown garage and is now offering four classes a week.
“The studio offers a beautiful and unique setting to do a yoga class and although the majority of students will come from the Hope Valley area, I anticipate there may also be an appeal for those on the west side of Sheffield to combine a yoga class with a trip into the Peak District,” said Cath.
Now 47 and with children, Felix and Charlie, 13 and 15 respectively, she was originally from Sheffield but lived in Australia from 1991 to 2003 where she worked in advertising and marketing.
She moved back to the UK in 2003, choosing Hathersage due to its beautiful setting and proximity to Sheffield.
On returning to Australia for a couple of years, Cath trained in Iyengar yoga in Sydney, and when she finally came back to the Peak District, she started teaching in Hathersage, Baslow and Great Longstone under the name Hope Valley Yoga.
The ambition of her own studio was born in discussions with neighbour and architect Simon Geddye.
The idea emerged of using Derbyshire stone leftover from the construction of the Hathersage Hall Business Centre for a curved building with beautiful views, but Peak Park planners opposed the scheme because of traffic implications, despite 20 letters of support from students and local residents.
However, Cath convinced the planning committee that there would be no major problems and she was granted permission for an initial three years.
The project has been “a labour of love with an almost entirely Hathersage/Hope Valley based workforce”, she said.
As well as Simon Geddye, she has engineer Keith Groom and project manager Tim Maskrey for neighbours, while builder Richard Percival, joiner Keith Siddell and painter David Garton are all based in Hathersage. Oak windows and doors were made in Bradwell by David Eades at Peninne Joinery.
“The furthest anyone came was from Totley as my old friend Richard Snape of RA Electrical did the wiring for me. The stone came from Hathersage and the roof is made of reclaimed slate sourced in Chesterfield. So I do like to think of it as a building made of local materials, made by local people, for local people to use. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. It blends perfectly into its surroundings.”
Cath, who can be contacted via Hope Valley Yoga and Facebook, added: “It’s absolutely amazing. The views look out over the hills and it means I don’t have to leave my children.”
It is hoped to grow to six classes a week, with plans for yoga retreats and workshops with visiting teachers.