Wednesday 26 January 2022

Brays Farm - Countryside Restoration Trust member

Brays Farm is a 52 Acre farm in South Nutfield and the land was part of the estate gifted to by the late John Collett who was passionate about sustainable farming and conservation issues.

The farm is now tenanted by Matthew Elphick and his partner Betsie who use many nature-friendly methods on the farm and hope to do even more in future to help wildlife - with the support of the Countryside Restoration Trust.

Matthew commented “We carry out a low-input style of farming - we’ve chosen dairy shorthorn cows because they are a good traditional breed that are hardy and will happily graze. You don’t have to grow lots of crops or feed them heavily for them to produce milk. We are going for quality rather than quantity, which means we don’t have to ask as much of our ground. We don’t put lots of fertiliser on the fields, we leave clumps of nettles here and there and we minimise the cutting of hedges. “We have a good population of swallows and little owls and kestrels on Brays Farm. We did have barn owls but a drought a couple of years ago hit them hard, so they haven’t nested since. We plan to plant more hedgerows, sow herbal leys and legumes to help pollinators and improve soil structure, and I would like to install nest boxes to encourage barn owls to settle on the farm again.”

Brays Farm is such an asset and residents are fortunate that this is continuing to add such rural value to the village. The farm also bring the added benefit of farm fresh foods - see the website Nutfielddairy/shop

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