‘Live as if we’ll die tomorrow, but farm as if we’ll live forever’, this is the ethos at the centre of Woodland Valley Farm, which has been in Jones family for three generations since 1960. The current generation of Jones’ to be the custodians of Woodland Valley Farm is CLA members Chris and Janet Jones, with their children Felicity, William and Jackie.
Woodland Valley Farm, an organic farm since 2003, is situated in a beautifully secluded valley,which includes ancient woodland, ponds, streams, and wetland. It was originally part of the Trethurffe Estate which is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
As custodians of Woodland Valley Farm the Jones, want to share it with the wider community and use it as an outdoor classroom founded on the themes of conservation and sustainability.
In 2005 they set about carefully restoring their farm buildings into what they are today; 4 star group accommodation, that achieved a prestigious Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme, with 46 beds and a great multi-purpose space for dining, meetings, teaching, seminars and conferences.
They host students of all ages from Key Stage 1 to Post Graduate and during the school holidays they host youth groups, bands, the International Schools Theatre Association, church groups and retreats. Guests have come from as far afield as Japan, Sweden and the USA.
For many years they have been running the farm with ecosystem services in mind, always asking the questions about what the land is doing besides producing milk. This has led to a number of carbon audits and ongoing work around the soils and the species incorporated into pastures to help maximise soil and grazers health. This work has led to the planting of one field with 800 trees with grazing alleys between rows. They have also been considering production of renewable energy, and in recent years retention of water on the farm – in soil and in the stream with the introduction of beavers in a research project designed to find out how much contribution they can make to flood risk reduction. They believe this type of activity is consistent with the approach promised for ag support changing to a public money for public
goods regime over the next 7-8 years.
Our walk will cover about a mile with some steep slopes and uneven terrain including streams in the beaver enclosed woodland. Wellies and a walking stick is advised.