Our environment – Sussex High Weald

Our farm of some 170 acres ( about 55 hectares) resides on the western side of the Sussex High Weald area.

The Home Farm, Tilgate Forest Lodge, is planted to grass,  consisting of permanent pasture and  some previously reseeded leys now matured into established long term grazing.

Swards are mixed grasses and clovers, which have natruralised to our acid soils. Some corrective liming is used where necessary, especially if overseeding. Some general fertilisers are used sparingly, usually with lime in moderate quantities, as the pH is vital to plant absorbtion of the fertilsers. All farm muck is spread on the grass and harrowed with an Einboch harrow.

To help with wild flora and fauna, we also maintain an area of 20 hectares (50 acres) of heathland, a vital habitat for many rare species of invertebrates, snakes, lizards, birds, and plants. These areas are acid heathlands, and are not improved soils. They can have an extreme pH of 4.5, and grow gorse, erica, heath bedstraw, and other indigenous flora. We control rampant bracken growth by cutting, and cattle trampling.

The cattle graze this area and are an important part of the control of the habitat and environment for the benefit of the indigenous species we wish to protect and encourage.