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Gaddesden Estate News April 2021

We have at last been able to get on with some land work after a long wet and cold winter. 73 hectares to drill with linseed and oats.  45% of our autumn sown winter wheat has failed so 94 hectares (235 acres) have been re-drilled with spring crops, in some fields this will be wheat and in other fields barley. We hope that this latter will make a malting sample and go for brewing or whisky distilling. We still have 75 ha (185 ac) of planned Spring cropping on Whitehouse and Upperwood Farms north of Gaddesden Row. This is due to comprise beans and linseed.

Walkers will have noticed that several fields are being fenced with semi-permanent electric fencing. These fields are in our Organic Conversion programme. Provided that we have a reasonable harvest this year, they will have a couple of years grazing by sheep before being sown with a fully certified organic crop.

To digress onto the names of fields, which I did a few months ago and which sparked some interest, two of the fields being grazed are called Great Almonds and Bingham’s Bottom. Great Almonds was originally Great Harman’s, as the adjoining London Wood was called Harman’s Wood. For many years in the 1970s and 1980s this filed was divided by mains electric fencing into paddocks for the dairy herd, with a “race” down the middle of the field. Bingham’s Bottom is a valley field adjoining the site of Gaddesden Cottage which was lived in by several generations of the Bingham Family. They were vicars of Great Gaddesden, and their memorials are in the church on the left as you enter through the main door, behind the font. I believe they were interred in a vault beneath the memorials.

Turning to the recently re-drilled fields, the largest is Highbush-Farthings. I don’t know the origin of “Highbush”, but fields called “Farthings” or “Severalls” often indicate areas which were once part of the mediaeval “three field” strip farming system. Another field is Long Garmer, or Ford’s-Long Garmer. Garmer and Ford’s Meadow were amalgamated in the 1960s. I don’t know who Ford was though Garmer shares a name with Garmer Spring, a spinney adjoining it. “Spring” in this case refers not to a spring of water but to small woods which were formerly coppiced to yield underwood products such as hedging and thatching spars. Garmer Lane is the bridleway from the Red Lion corner in Water End to Corner Farm in Gaddesden Row. Again, I do not know the origin of the name.

Horses, grazing and Park & Ride
Paddock maintenance- we are waiting for the right weather to Harrow and Roll the paddocks after a very wet winter. Annual maintenance has been carried out on shelters.

Smaller jumps are being made for our younger riders to have the option to pop over whilst out and about. 
Park and Ride- numbers are already looking good for 9th May.  Planning has begun for the Charity Ride on 12th September, with riders already booked in we are hoping for another busy season ahead.

The other Park and Ride dates are 4th July and 8th August. Booking as usual is through Equo.