Gardens and Estate
The Great lodge estate covers almost 1000 acres of arable farmland and woodland. We are committed to protecting the environment and are part of a number of environmental stewardship schemes, including the Guild of Conservation Grade Producers. Conservation Grade farmers are required to devote at least 10% of their farmed area for the development of a specific range of habitats. We are continually creating and managing habitats to encourage wildlife and biodiversity.
Areas of seed rich over-wintered stubble are left to provide food for farmland birds, together with insect rich grass and wild flower strips around our fields. In addition to the two meadows in front of the house, we are creating a new wildflower meadow alongside our drive. There you will also see one of our owl boxes, with other boxes for birds and bats on the farm.
In 2013 we planted Carew’s Wood, an area of just over 3 acres, with 2,200 locally native trees and shrubs. A glade has been left and sown with a grass and wildflower mix and in order to reduce the fertility of the soil, the top soil was removed to create a mound, which affords a splendid vantage point.
Our existing woodland is managed and a recent development has been the fencing of Purples Spinney, a strip of ancient woodland, following a spring line. This is an important site for a rare colony of oxlip, which is only found on the Essex, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire border. There is also a large number of Herb Paris and carpets of Golden Saxifrage. The estate has been part of an oxlip recovery project, together with Essex Wildlife Trust and Bardfield Parish Council. The spinney has been fenced to keep out the growing number of deer who eat not only the oxlip flowers but the naturally regenerating woodland plants and trees.
Oxlip (Primula Elatior)
The Great Lodge Alpaca Herd (Apricot, Louis-Hugo, Cresta and Lulu)
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)