Occupying 4,000 acres astride the River Test between Andover and Stockbridge in Hampshire, the Leckford Estate produces arable crops, apples, pears, grapes, and mushrooms.
Farmer: Andrew Ferguson
Address: The Estate Office, Leckford, Stockbridge, Hampshire, SO20 6DA
Member since 2001 and LEAF Demonstration Farm since 2004
Certification: LEAF Marque
The Leckford Estate runs to 4,000 acres, some two miles north of Stockbridge in Hampshire. The Estate is part of the John Lewis Partnership having been purchased by John Spedan Lewis in 1929. The Estate incorporates a commercial farm as well as a Farm Shop and Café, Longstock Park Nursery, Longstock Park Water Gardens and other leisure facilities for use by John Lewis Partnership staff. In August 2001, the Estate became part of Waitrose and sells produce under the Leckford Estate brand or through the Waitrose supply chain. The Estate is LEAF Marque Certified and produces arable crops, apples, pears and mushrooms. Apples and pears from its 30 acre fruit farm, are sold to Waitrose with some also sold through the Farm Shop as well as processed into fruit juice (and sometimes cider too). An 11 acre vineyard, planted in 2009, produces 25,000-35,000 bottles of Leckford Estate sparkling wine each year. A purpose-built mushroom farm produces 20-26 tonnes of brown/chestnut mushrooms each week for sale through Waitrose stores. Wheat produced on the Estate is milled, bagged and retailed through Waitrose as Leckford Estate branded flour. Rapeseed is pressed and bottle on the Estate for sale as cold-pressed rapeseed oil through Waitrose and the Farm Shop.
The Estate is also home to 12,000 free-range laying hens, managed by Stonegate, egg suppliers to Waitrose. The estate stopped dairy farming in Spring 2021 to increase their arable crop area and size of the existing herd of beef cattle as part of a drive to increase commercial and regenerative agriculture benefits.
The Estate employs 150 ‘Partners’ many of whom live on or nearby to the Estate and who contribute to the local economy as well as to the local communities. The Estate donates to charities through a number of approaches, including the Waitrose ‘Community Matters’ scheme. The Estate takes part in the LEAF-organised Open Farm Sunday event each June.
The Leckford Estate has a long tradition of care and respect for wildlife and conservation. It has a wealth of varied habitats including the River Test, water meadows, ancient grass downland and woodland, with many SSSIs and a substantial Environmental Stewardship Agreement. Over recent years there has been extensive work done on woodland management, hedge-planting, grassland regeneration and much else.
In addition, the Estate has a small retail nursery noted for its National Collections of Buddleja and Clematis viticella selling quality plants to the public.
The farm is hosting field trials for the Small Robot Company and is a host site for Bayer Cropscience small plot trials. They also host postgraduate projects looking at aspects of habitat management, e.g. the impact of land management on bats, and on bees and other pollinators. Andrew is also in the Test to Winchester cluster group, comprising 30-35,000 acres.
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