Updated: Dec 1, 2019
The history of the buildings at Fair Oak Farm is quite fascinating. Records show that the Grade II Listed farmhouse was built in 1600, although that does seem to be based on when it was first occupied rather than when it was constructed, which we believe was actually completed in 1599. Well, that is if the markings on beams from the builder are anything to go by - they seem to indicate that it was the second in a series of farmhouses constructed at that time in the same valley. More recently, the farm formed part of the Glynde Estate but was sold off to a private buyer when the property was Listed, passing on the responsibility (and cost!) of looking after it - a decision they no doubt regret now.
However, it is the history of the land that has fascinated current owners and which has been instrumental in their passion for the land they are custodians of and their mission to adopt environmentally friendly, ethical practices to help protect, restore and enhance local habits, wildlife and culture.
The countryside around Fair Oak Farm in the High Weald of East Sussex has the highest density of intact medieval farmsteds in Europe. With the help of AONB for High Weald and other organisations the history of the land and how it was used can be understood. Maps and evidence of previous uses, wildlife, plants and habitats are available for much of the land around Fair Oak Farm, indicating how it has been used for centuries, including the ancient woodland, tree lines and hedgerows and, later, the local iron ore mines.
Many of the projects we undertake are simple, easy wins, to reinstate our heritage. Others are far more complex, ongoing and would involve a consistent link across vast areas of land and hedgerows.
For those that know what #ecotourism actually means, why it's not just a hashtag you use when you've planted some trees and what it takes to begin to achieve, you will understand why we have no qualms shouting about this accolade from Britain's Finest.