April 2024

Well – Another Spring after a pretty mild winter, some marigolds are still flowering, the bluebells, wild garlic, wood anemonies, red campion, celandine, lady’s smock, herb Robert, violets, dandelion, white & yellow nettle, cowslips, cow parsley, wild strawberry, stitchwort and primroses are all out at the same time so the woods and hedgerows are a joy with the first early purple orchids and more patches of Parasitic toothwort which I am particularly happy about – years ago my teenage son was delighted to find a small clump on one of his forays and was anxious to show me, excited by the thought they were rare wild orchids – only on further delving found them to be Toothwort – I reassured him they were still rare as my friends and I had never discovered them before.

Malcolm has scaled down his building this year - from a whole new fantastic eco house for our son Jack and his wife Ancella - to a recycled greenhouse, particularly in the hope of growing tomatoes, and a dovecote to try and tempt the doves who were a pest nesting in the horse barn last year, so far, they have ignored it but are at least nesting outside under the eaves like they used to. Perhaps the babies will find it more to their liking. We were hoping for the Barn swallows return – they successfully fledged two broods of 4 babies, happy to nest over Rocks’s stable and were much better house guests than the doves, we have seen them briefly swooping around but not residing yet.

We did a really fun gin trail in Canterbury last June introducing us to little gems in the historic King’s Mile, we shall be looking out for it again this year. The L’Ambrette is now called A Cooks Tale  https://www.thecookstale.co.uk and has started hosting Bollywood nights, so we will be venturing into Canterbury nightlife. It is a restaurant run by a lovely local family and has been consistently excellent. We have continued to be members of Hush Heath Estate vineyard, home of the Balfour winery https://balfourwinery.comand had lovely musical suppers with gorgeous wines, with their 400 acres of wildflower meadows, orchards and vineyards to wander through and hope to join their grape picking day again this year.

We enjoyed another free Shakespeare performance by the Changeling Theatre Company at the Folkestone outdoor amphitheatre, https://changeling-theatre.com/venues/folkestone-amphitheatre overlooking the beach and sea. We shall go for it again. This year, it is Henry V and is on Sunday 11th August at 5.00pm

The deer have been having fun jumping into a tiny fenced off area in the horse’s field, we really cannot think why when they have a great field of grass to roam in – the horses are still not too sure of them but are still very fit and well as they approach their teens.

The gardens have been quite productive in vegetables, Lewana’s rhubarb won 1st prize in the local show again this year. We have planted a Czar and Damson plum orchard of 10 trees, surrounding them with daffodils, being inspired by last years holiday to our favourite place, Lower House Farm, Tenbury Wells, near Ludlow. It is a lovely farm B & B run by genial hosts Anne and Tom, where we just chill in the old-fashioned gardens with stupendous views, picking damsons for her delicious jam, bringing some home to replicate with great success.

We are keeping nice and busy with visitors but still found time to grape pick again last year, on five days, and wine provided. Chartham Vineyard  http://charthamvineyard.co.uk/ – really good fun with lots of lovely cake.

Unfortunately some of our local pubs, The George, The Timberbatts and The Chequers have now closed – but the local farm shops have expanded – Perry Court Farm, near Wye  https://www.perrycourt.farm now has a lovely spacious café with local produce; the Lord Whisky tearooms https://www.lordwhisky.co.uk  does too, and also supports the nearby animal sanctuary.

We hope to introduce more guests to the joys of country living again this year, with the benefits of the seaside just down the road.

June 2022

After a very long break at last an update to life at Great Field Farm. The thing is not much changes – Lewana walked even more during lockdown as only allowed to walk with one friend at a time, and actually had time to grow more vegetables and still seemed to not have enough hours in the day. The horses have continued to keep fit and well so more riding was another pleasure, and we were able to provide limited accommodation for key workers and none of the family or guests got covid. Malcolm was able to use lockdown to build a new house, in nearby Petham, for our son and daughter-in-law (to passiv house standards), a culmination of all the knowledge and expertise he’s acquired through our expansion into “green” holiday barns, which are more popular than ever.

We are pleased to welcome back a family of doves who have rested again in the horse barn, 2 little offspring have just successfully flown the nest. We’ve watched as a very tame robin built its nest in a shed as has a blackbird and pigeon, in the ivy around the kitchen window. The hares are still popping up all around the house and barns and we feel honoured by their presence and trust in us.

Whilst walking in Denge wood at Petham Lewana was delighted at the sheer number of different wild orchids there, and the delicate blue of fields of linseed near-by. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/denge-pennypot-wood/ More fields of grape vines are appearing and vineyards are expanding into more diverse ways to encourage people to enjoy the delicious wines.

We have just had a most lovely evening gin tasting at Terlingham Vineyard at near-by Hawkinge, with glorious views over the English Channel. The daughters of the family run business entertained and waited on us with generous amounts of gin which we made into cocktails, and delicious platters of nibbles, charcuterie and cheeses, followed by coffee and cake – even we were too full to accept offers of more delectable choc fudge cake. Their vineyards are natural, like organic, only better, growing in harmony with the surroundings. Their wines and gin are really exceptional.      https://terlinghamvineyard.co.uk/


We have also enjoyed tastings and events at Hush Heath Estate and Vineyard, where you’re free to wander over 400 acres of vines, orchards, woodland and wildflower meadows.    https://balfourwinery.com/

Our daughter and teenage grandchildren are at last able to visit from Australia, so we’re going to visit Go Ape at Leeds Castle  https://goape.co.uk/locations/leeds-castle   Escape in the Tower, Canterbury  https://www.onepoundlane.co.uk/escape Canoe Wild, Grove Ferry, near Canterbury  https://www.canoewild.co.uk/  and F51, an amazing new indoor skate park and climbing wall centre in Folkestone.    https://f51.co.uk/

Also in Folkestone the Harbour Arm is a delight with a quirky champagne bar in the lighthouse at the end of the pier and little restaurants, free music events and craft markets.   https://folkestoneharbourarm.co.uk/

Another treat is going to the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne and see the old planes and White Cliffs in the background. Very evocative and informative. https://www.battleofbritainmemorial.org/

Our local pub, The George on Stone Street now hosts some very good Blues bands on a Tuesday night and has a very friendly and cosy atmosphere. https://www.thegeorgeonstonestreet.co.uk/

The weather has been fantastic here, always the driest and sunniest part of the country, anyway, hopefully remaining that way for August and September, as it did last year, as we look forward to the Air Show in Folkestone https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/airdisplay2022 and the local ploughing matches. https://www.ekpma.co.uk/event    https://www.wkpma.co.uk/

I'll sign off now, as I sit listening to all the birdsong around me in the garden, the blue sky above, grateful I live in such a lovely place, where the air is full of delicious scents of wild garlic, pine, new mown hay, honeyed aromas of the wild flowers, wheat and barley now in full beauty as it ripens, just all the greenery around us.

July 2020

I have to admit we’ve really enjoyed lockdown – runner beans, courgettes, chard, spinach have been planted and hopefully our guests will be sampling them throughout the summer. Long walks in our wonderful woods and fields have uplifted and amazed us with the huge diversity of plants, insects and butterflies.



Our nettle patches have rewarded us with nests of Peacock and Small Tortoishell caterpillars, the latter should hopefully make a lovely show in late Autumn, before winter hibernation. The Peacocks, Red Admirals, Commas and Gatekeepers are out in full glory with the summer sun.


Our resident hares have remained and are even tamer than before – 3 were only babies last year and it’s lovely to see them as young independent adults.


There are 2 chicks hatched this year – both boys to add to our cockerel collection, child guests really enjoy petting them. We love to hear the cockerels crowing, and the hens are laying well despite their old age. We’ve enjoyed watching a big hare gambolling in the fields as we took advantage of the glorious views from the comfort of Bumble Barn’s lounge, watching the clouds drift by and the grass rippling like a green ocean as far as the eye can see, listening to the spirited bird song. We discovered a beautifully crafted wasp’s nest in this drawer with little and large very docile wasps – we’re happy to leave them alone as they are good pollinators and pest eaters and seeming to like climbing hydrangeas. An old wasp’s nest in an old shed, has been taken over by cuckoo bees, while the bee hotel Malcolm made is nearly fully occupied.


We were so lucky to find a Bee orchid on the near-by bank, which explodes with butterflies as you walk by. So many different wild flowers with numerous orchids abound there as the red kites soar above. We’re so happy that guests can now come and enjoy what we’ve been revelling in this year.


The local George Inn (www.thegeorgeonstonestreet.co.uk), only a few minutes walk away is now open (booking essential for drinks and meals) as are many of the local attractions with tickets needed to be purchased prior to visiting. Many of the beaches are still quite secluded – Botany Bay, near Margate, is fantastic with its amazing cliffs and chalk stacks.


We are surrounded by lots of woods to walk in, sea sides to explore and character pubs to relax in. We are happy to see that the Lord Whisky Tearooms are now open for breakfasts, lunches, teas and snacks, a charming place to eat that supports an excellent animal sanctuary. Open 10am – 4pm daily. For reservations ring 01303862349 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.lordwhisky.co.uk