Preservation & Restoration

Abandoned, derelict and forlorn, its bastion of ancient elms withered and dying, its hedgerows rooted out, South Farm stood at the mercy of the wind, on the point of collapse, when it was purchased in 1974.

Forty years on the transformation is nearly complete. The ancient buildings have been given another lease of life. OpenSouth Farm Aerial Photo History to see photos of the restoration progression.

Our main objective was the preservation of the building which date back to Tudor times, and represented the high point of Victorian farming. Both the original Tudor dwelling and its later 18th century frontage were largely unchanged when we arrived.

A glance at the aerial views taken in 1968 and 2005 shows the extent of the landscaping. The first move in 1975 was to plant a peripheral shelter belt of indigenous trees and hedging. In total we have planted about 700 trees and more than a mile of hedging. Within that protective perimeter we have successively planted the Summer Garden and pond, the Herb Garden, the Winter Garden, the Reed Bed, and the cultivated fields of the small holding.