Shepherds hut in the South Downs
minimum two nights stay, price stated are for 2021 year, and depend on season, and length of stay.
Description of Shepherds hut in the South Downs
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PlanetWe are based on the Harris family farm, where we have been farming for 100 years. Today we farm a rotation of arable crops and extensive livestock - breeding cattle for beef, keep sheep and we have a small herd of Bagot goats specifically for conservation grazing of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The farm is thoroughly dedicated to conservation and sustainable farming; our efforts have been recognised through winning the much esteemed FWAG Silver Lapwing Award, which acknowledges our outstanding efforts to promote good habitats and environmental management on the farm. We understand the importance of producing food while making space for nature, and the land is a patchwork of grassland and arable interspersed with habitat specifically for the wildlife - beetle banks, fallow land, wildbird seed plots, nectar rich flower margins, as well as woodland and scrub. we also feed the farmland birds through the 'hungry gap" winter months. We are working closely with an experienced local ecologist who is conducting a thorough Bioblitz species survey. The reintroduction of the Corn Bunting is a specific example of the reward for our efforts, and a range of nationally rare species, including the Giant Pignut, can now be found on the holding. We are currently measuring the carbon footprint of the farm, working with Brighton & Hove City Council and the National Park to better understand the role that farming and land management can play in carbon sequestration, at a time when we are all striving to reach net zero. Solar panels on two of our barn roofs are generating clean energy, while our rainwater harvesting schemes are being used to supply water to the livestock drinking troughs. We are looking to expand and improve our wildflower meadows to enhance the local habitat, we have bat and bird boxes and wildlife habitat piles on site, and the wildflowers, together with our own sunflowers will be used to decorate the accommodation.
We actively encourage our visitors to arrive by sustainable means; we provide information on the public transport network, secure bicycle storage, and we are installing an e charging point for cars. Wheelbarrows are also provided to transport luggage from the reception area to the site.
Our manager for this initiative is our farm managers wife, Angela lives just across the field, so a very short commute!
In sourcing produce for our starter packs and hampers, and the toiletries for the accommodation, we have considered the environment and local provenance, using local suppliers and reducing single use plastic wherever possible.
PeopleWe actively support local businesses, both through sourcing our range for hamper and starter packs from local suppliers - a butcher, cake and cookie maker and egg producer; and through the promotion of local enterprises in our activity booklet - the vineyard tours, trails and tastings, the Artisan Bakehouse, Fish and Fin, So Sussex, and the Cadence Cycle hub, an excellent network of cafes along the Downs, to name a few.
We are looking at ways to work with local interest groups, including Greening Steyning and Sustainable Henfield, to improve engagement and understanding between the local community and those managing the land.
We are also actively engaged in working the our local community of farmers, the farm team play a lead role in the local farmer cluster group, which is encouraging farmers in the eastern South Downs to work together, and six such groups along the whole of the Downs work closely with the National Park with the aim of improving delivery and connectivity of biodiversity, as well as improved engagement between the farmer and neighbours, whether those living in the area or those visiting. We have supported our neighbouring farm to host Open Farm Sunday, providing tractor and trailer rides. Open Farm Sundays are free events where inquisitive public can immerse themselves in the day to day of farming; getting close up to animals, seeing the different machinery, and having a guided tour.
We promote the Countryside Code, we aim to raise awareness of where our food comes from and visitors will see our faces on gateposts along the South Downs Way, which is part of a Meet the Farmer initiative.
We look forward to welcoming our visitors and giving them an insight into the local area, the working farm and the countryside.
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