Our Green Story
You cannot live somewhere this beautiful and not care about the future.
Farming is a way of life, a vocation, and never just 9 - 5. It is a way of life that many misunderstand, and even fewer appreciate what it truly entails...yet......
As a family we have lived here since 1904 and having been brought up here myself I can truly understand why we have. The pull of the farm is at times irritatingly strong; having dragged me back to Norfolk in 2014 with a husband and two young children in tow, and finally back onto the farm itself in 2018. Since then I am not sure I have sat down other than when paperwork needs to be done. There is never a day that something doesn't need doing or when something doesn't happen, especially with 80 cows!
With just under 350 hectares the farm in todays terms isn’t really that big but it still gives us the most amazing opportunity to do some incredible things for the local environment. In 1990 the government launched the originally Countryside Steward, and since then we have been participating in or the equivalent to it. Helping us win a FWAG Conservation Award in 2011.
The Farm is home to 210 bird species, 450 plants, 900 moths as well as numerous butterflies and Dragonflies which have been recorded over the years. In 2015 over 1000 different species were recorded on the farm!
To give a small insight into what we do…
.... we care for and manage 30 kilometres of hedgerow – all having 6m grassland margins between them and the field; protecting the hedges from spray and fertilizer that is needed to grow crops. Whilst supporting a wide range of flora including Bee Orchards and providing essential habitat for an array of insects and other animals.
Each year we plant wild bird food mixes helping supplement winter feeding for farmland birds. We plant nectar rich mixes, which help provide areas of flowering plants to boost essential food sources, helping bumble bees, solitary bees, butterflies and hoverflies. We also are growing legumes and herb mixes that help feed our cows whilst providing habitat and food for invertebrates, including crop pollinators, and helping to improve the soil structure and water infiltration.
We have started restoring 5 ancient ponds on the farm, as well as restoring old hedgerows lost over the years and are about to start planting an orchard, containing 70 apple trees, all of which will be traditional Norfolk varieties.
Carbon Storage is a hot topic at the moment. For years we have carefully been managing the 25 hectares of woodland and 200 hectares of grassland which provide essential carbon sinks. Whilst also providing rich habitats for some of the many species we have on the farm.
Yet for the farm to survive bills need to be paid and with so many other farms it became clear that we had to find other ways for this to happen. Diversification needed to happen to try and help secure the future of the farm. So in 2020 we took the terrifying plunge and jumped straight into another uncertain and exhausting industry - tourism.
Since 1904 when the family took over the farm, farming has changed beyond all reconnection. The farm buildings began to be used less and less, largely due to changes in horse power. With little practical use they became derelict. With so many lovely barns being dilapidated we decided to restore them back into the beautiful buildings they once were but this time for people not animals or machines. They now provide places to stay in for holidays to escape the hustle and bustle of today’s crazy lives.
Over the next two years we worked with a small team of talented builders and carefully converted the barns into what we have here today, reusing as much as possible. We now offer 5 star accommodation and share a little piece of heaven with visitors throughout the year. Yet never forgetting the extremely fine balance between tourism and environmental sustainability.
The environment clearly has always been at the heart of everything we do, running through every vein of the farm. It now flows through everything we do within tourism as well.
We are so lucky to farm somewhere so special and it is essential we do all we can to look after it but also to share it with others. We believe for people to care and protect the environment, they need to content to it and feel the love for it.
We do all we can to limit the impact on the environment that the Cottages may create. We take a lot of care in sourcing everything we use, from who provides our electricity to where our teabags come from.
We encourage all our visitors to support our amazing local shops, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants when staying with us, and we encourage them to discover what is on the door step; from walks around the farm and Sparham Pools to dinosaur hunting down the road.
We continue to try and reduce our footprint and help our visitors to do the same, from providing eco soap in the bathrooms, green cleaning products under the sink, recycling bins and fair trade tea and coffee in the kitchen and most recently having installed two EV car charging points.
As long as we live here we will always keep the environment at the centre of what we do and how we do it.