We are a family business that has been caring for and cultivating the land for many generations.
Essex is proudly part of the 'grain basket' of the UK, where farming is predominately arable, although we do have a suckler herd (beef) and pedigree sheep on grassland areas. We adopt a multi-year crop rotation that mixes Winter and Spring drilling to include crops such as Wheat, Barley, Oilseed Rape, Beans and Sugar Beet.
Our Feed Wheat can be exported from Tilbury or Erith docks based in Essex to anywhere in the world, whilst our Milling Wheat can be sent to British millers for bread or biscuit making.
Where the land is lighter, we tend to grow Malting or Feed Barley. Our Malting Barley can be used for beer or even whisky.
Oilseed Rape is harvested in the late summer and the crushed seeds release oil that is used in numerous foods as well as bio-fuels.
Our Sugar Beet is lifted out of the ground around Christmas and is sent to British Sugar's Bury St Edmunds factory in Suffolk to make sugar.
For decades, we have planted 'Cricket Bat' willow, as part of our woodland management plan. Typically grown for 15-20 years in wet areas by streams as willows love water, the trunks are cut down into sections and eventually made into cricket bats and used to make winning runs on cricket pitches around the world from Lord's to Melbourne Cricket Ground to Eden Gardens. Howzat!
With the demise of compulsory set-aside, the farm has choosen to maintain a diverse habitat through joining a series of environmental schemes such as ELS and HLS as well as working with national bodies such as Natural England and Campaign for Farmed Environment. For example, fields now have a six-meter un-cropped margin between the hedge and the crop, game cover strips are planted to provide food and insects for game birds and the establishment of 'beetle banks'.
Many hedges have now been coppiced and replanted where gaps have appeared, with no hedge cutting from end of February til beginning of August to allow the hedges to grow and bear fruit.
For several generations, Saling Grove has been a much-loved family home. We have continued devoting ourselves to the upkeep, repair and progression of the Estate including the creation of The Orangery as an event venue for organising concerts and exhibitions; Golden Grove caravan park and the development of various accommodation across the Estate.
The house at Saling Grove was built by John Yeldham in 1754. He was a prominent landowner in North Essex and was involved in the management of Guys Hospital, London.
In 1790, Humphry Repton (1752-1818), the last great landscape designer of the Georgian period, was commissioned to design the gardens and parkland. Repton's account book for 1790 notes 'Nov 5th & 6th Book maps and slides - £6.60' for John Yeldham, Saling Grove.
The estate was purchased in 1795 by Barlett Goodrich, a 'returning' Virginian. A descendent of John Goodricke (sic) who settled in Virigina in 1625, the family were amongst one of the earliest settlers. Upon the breaking out of the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), the Goodriches found themselves on the wrong side by supporting the Crown. Notoriously they harried the colony's merchant fleet, operating in effect as privateers. They were undoubtedly involved in the Battle of Chesapeake Bay that was a strategic victory for the French and the Americans. Consquently their lands were confiscated, members were put in prison, others including Barlett Goodrich fled 'returning' to England. He extended the house at Saling Grove and made Saling Hall the dower house for his two daughters which he divided into two with two front doors!
With no male heirs, the estate was subsquently sold again and following the upheavals of the first and second world war the estate became much reduced.