Down Farms origins dates back to Roman times, when a settlement was thought to be located here on the site of the current farmhouse. The farmhouse was later built in the 1600s originally in the Devon Long House style, but over the years it has been extended and added to.
We are situated in an organic valley on the south facing side of the Bray Valley, and the River Bray runs alongside the valley, supplying fresh water to our lake.
All of the water used on the farm is supplied from rain water, percolated through the hills and filtered into our pump room before coming out of your taps. We are an organic farm, and we farm to the Soil Association Standards. There are no pesticides or weed killer used on the farm. This ensures not only that the abundance of wildlife and birds remain healthy but also that our water supply is kept clean and chemical free. . Our waste water peculates through a holding tank and then drains into the farmland, the same way as it did during medieval times. The farm has three tiers of ancient irrigation channels that can still be seen today on the southern slopes of the farm.
Farming organically also helps us to do plenty of conservation work around the farm. In our 9 years here we have seen a large increase in wild life plants and wild flowers, as part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme we have created new hedgerows and established more grazing land to help provide feeding grounds for rare species, such as our Horseshoe Bats which inhabit the valley.
Tree planting has been an important part of our carbon neutral footprint here at Down Farm. We have planted over 350 trees, oak, Rowan, Alder, Ash and Cherry, all native British broad leaf trees. 150 of them have been sleeved to protect them from the deer eating them... and this will eventually support the native red deer and encourage more wildlife.
Copper Kettle Cottage started out as a cattle barn, and was then transformed into a cider press. Sadly none of the original workings, press or orchard is in situ, but Adrian has set about planting and recreating an apple orchard. He has already planted some native English apples to eat and cook with, and we cannot wait for the next bumper harvest.
Ladybird Barn was a later addition to the farm, probably built in the late 18th century, along with the old stables. It was converted to residential use in 2008, and as you would expect, has every modern convenience.