A great part of our love of what we do is the pleasure we take in caring for our surroundings. Of course, most effort goes into growing delicious grapes but we also put time and money into looking after our field margins, hedgerows, ponds and copses, taking care with mowing and hedge-cutting, clearing some but not all brambles and only using weed control directly under the vines themselves. We are very aware that our planted area of vines is a permanent monoculture so we  are keen to ensure that our field margins and ponds and coppices  support a diverse range of plants and flowers for insects , small mammals and beauty.  We like being part of a wider world.

Alleyways also allow us to encourage biodiversity, they are planted with a bee and pollen mix which will be reseeded in a few years as the mowing regime inevitably allows grasses to thrive.  We were amazed to find the Bitterwort:  Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea ) growing in the alleyways last year as this pretty low-growing flower is more usually found on very dry soils .

Spring is the most obvious time to see things, trees are just coming into leaf, grasses are still winter-short and spring flowers leap out at us: our hedgerows are under planted with  primroses, creeping speedwell, bluebells, orchids, celandine and buttercups run rampant in damper areas , blue bugle marches across open ground.  We’ve found the scarce Coralroot (Cardamine bubifera) in our coppices. (This pretty pink flower is only found occassionally in the Chilterns and the High Weald of Kent and Sussex outside of Scandinavia).  Just as the hedges dance with blossom, the bluebells and orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii* ) start to show, great pools of blue surround the vineyard with the pinks and purples of the orchids studding the grassy banks.  Then Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ) takes over as the bluebells fade adding its golden yellow to the vineyard palate.

By summer it’s the hedges themselves that are the glory, vibrant blue Vectch (Vicia sativa ) climbs upwards, with wild roses and wild honeysuckle above.  The bulrushes and yellow flags dominate the more open pond whilst a vicious tangle of blackberries smothers the banks of the other pond providing food and cover.

The woodland between the fields acts as a balance offsetting the actively farmed area of the vineyard, here the trees provide dappled shade. We cut scythe the ground vegetation occasionally but only after flowering plants have set seed. We are always on the look out and haven’t seen everything yet but our aim is to know our native species, protect and encourage them and revel in their presence.