Nestled away on Silverthorne Lane sits The Forest Bakery, an artisan bakery run by husband and wife team, Sarah and Jimmy. We caught up with them at their Kingswood home as they prepare to move further into the city for a new adventure!
Originally hailing from London, ten years ago the pair ventured down to the south-west towards Somerset to start a life outside of the bustling capital. “Somerset was beautiful, and we were so happy there for many years, but we felt a bit of a pull towards a busier city with a change of pace as the kids grew up”, explains Sarah. “We were both teachers at the time, but we both needed a change and Jimmy started working for a small bakery, and the aim from then on was to own our bakery. We’d visited Bristol before, and we fell in love with the balanced lifestyle. It’s still a city, but it has the sense of community you would expect from a smaller town, and it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside. It has so much to offer!”
Kingswood was where the couple then settled for the next few years, Blackhorse Road to be exact, where they found a three bedroom mid terrace home in need of some TLC. “The house was a rental when we took it on, so it really needed a whole lot of love! We renovated from the top down and also went out into the garden to really make the most of the home. We even put on a new front door!”
After serving the family of four for almost three years, they felt it was time for a change of scenery with a move closer to the city on the cards. “It’s a great house, that is perfectly located for some beautiful walks, with amazing schools around the area, which both of our girls went to. We will miss the area, but we are looking for a new adventure a little closer to the city. South of the river is a bit of a favourite for us, and with Totterdown, Brislington and Bedminster so close to the bakery, it seems like a sensible move”.
With the east of Bristol seeing a bit of a revival at the moment, the couple’s move towards that area of the city comes at an exciting time of change. “When we initially set up The Forest Bakery back in 2019, we were working out of a tiny little unit in Meriton Foundry around the St Phillips area, but when the opportunity came around to lease our current space, we knew we had to jump at it”, says Sarah. “We moved into the railway arch just before Christmas, and the bakery is now a few minutes walk from Temple Meads, just behind The Dings, and it’s such a great, central location! There seems to be incredible independent businesses and shops popping up around the area at the moment, it’s a really exciting place to be. The neighbours are great here, we are next door to a dance studio and The Cider Box, and not too far from Future Donuts, so it’s a really creative community and everyone is so supportive of one another.”
Setting up in the winter of 2019, just before the pandemic hit, the bakery hit the ground running, needing to diversify from the get-go, but as we return to some sort of normality, the future is bright for the family-run bakery. “We really had to change our whole model thanks to COVID, and actually started hand-delivering orders to people’s houses for the first few months that we were open as we were a wholesale bakery but everywhere we delivered to had to shut down. Now that things are a bit more ‘normal’ we are still delivering, but the plan for us in the near future is to set up a counter in the railway arch and become more open to the public and start selling produce in the shop. With the development of the area including student accommodation, new homes and even a school, the community vibe around here will only grow, so we are really excited for what’s to come.
Specialising in traditional and vegan sourdough breads and croissants, head to The Forest Bakery’s website to order your pastry fix to enjoy from your own home!