Welcome to the website about our small farm in Kent.
We believe that farming and nature can co-exist in harmony. We strive to make our farm productive and wildlife-friendly, and our meadows were created with that goal in mind.
Please Contact Us or read on to find out more about our meadows and the wildlife which shares the farm with us.
Our hay is produced from 15 acres of species-rich meadows. The grass and plant mix was carefully chosen to create diversity, resilience against difficult weather conditions (in both soil and sward) and a nutritious forage crop for livestock.
- Red Fescue – one of the most important grasses for both meadow and pasture, being an excellent ‘bottom’ grass, drought-tolerant and quick to spread; produces a good aftermath.
- Meadow Fescue – a very productive and nourishing meadow and pasture grass; has a large root system, so is resilient to drought, but can also tolerate wetter seasons.
- Timothy – densely-tufted with a high tillering capacity; preserves its softness for a long time; highly palatable.
- Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass – dubbed ‘the bread of grasses’ for its palatability, softness and nourishment; able to withstand extremes of weather very well.
- Crested Dogstail – remains green in even the driest summers and throughout the winter; a good ‘bottom’ grass; a common component of many of the best natural sheep pastures.
- Tall Fescue – produces a high ratio of leaf to stem; a high-yielding hay plant.
- Cocksfoot – chosen specifically for its deep root system, making it drought tolerant and high in trace minerals; one of the heaviest-yielding grasses and one of the best for hay.
In addition to the grasses, the fields were over-sown with a mixture of wildflower seed, to create a dense herbal ley. We took great care to ensure the sustainability and palatability of the species chosen.
- Bird’s Foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus
- Black Medick Medicago lupilina
- White Campion Silene alba
- Cowslip Primula veris
- Goat’s-Beard Tragopogon pratensis
- Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra
- Greater Knapweed Centaurea scabiosa
- Lady’s Bedstraw Galium vernum
- Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
- Oxeye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
- Pignut Conopodium majus
- Plantain, Hoary Plantago media
- Plantain, Ribwort Plantago lanceolata
- Ragged Robin Lychnis floscuculi
- Salad Burnet Sanguisorba minor
- Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
- Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa
- Wild Carrot Daucus carota
- Wild Clary Salvia verbenaca
- Yarrow Achillea millefolium
- Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor
Our little farm has seen big changes in the last few years, but this is only the latest chapter in the story.
We have kept this land for three generations. At first it was mostly a poultry farm, until restrictions during the Second World War meant that feed for the chickens was too hard to come by. Then the existing plum and damson trees were joined by orchards of apples and pears, as well as a field of runner beans. Alongside a historic Kent cobnut plantation, these were productive for many, many years.
The storm of 1987 destroyed most of the original 40-year-old trees. They were replaced with modern rootstocks and the orchards managed on a small-scale commercial basis. But almost 30 years later it was no longer practical to run these orchards in the way that they needed. Although we were sorry to see them go, the apples trees were cleared and the land given over the creation of species-rich meadows.
We chose a mix of seed which would provide resilience to a wide range of weather conditions and produce the very best winter forage for livestock, while supporting invertebrate life and the whole wildlife food chain.
The fields are surrounded by hedgerows and by shaws (narrow woods, some hundreds of years old) with many fine mature trees. The farm lies entirely within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
We feel incredibly lucky to be farming the land on which we played as children, and we know that it is possible to farm alongside and in harmony with nature. Our aim continues to be to nurture a productive environment where wildlife can also flourish.
Please contact us if you would like to know more about our meadows or are interested in making hay from them this summer.