Hawthbush Farm is a 140-acre organic farm in the heart of rural East Sussex. We are working with Natural England under the Higher Level Stewardship scheme to protect our species-rich meadows, ancient woodlands and to enhance birdlife and butterflies.
The farm cultivates organic winter feed for local raw-milk dairy farmer Steve Hook. To see Steve in action, take a look at the award-winning film The Mooman.
Sustainability is key to everything we do on the farm. We provide our own water from our spring and much of our electricity usage is provided by the 15Kw solar array. All the cottages and house are heated using a central biomass boiler.
In the autumn of 2012, we invited Richard Creightmore, a renowned local dowser, to come and look for a source of pure fresh spring water for our farm. That afternoon Richard marked a spot and told us that 100ft below the organic land there was a good clean supply. A few months later, and with much holding of breath, we dug down through a layer of capping clay to a fresh source at … 100ft down! The following year we tested the water and found that it contained a rich range of the right minerals, and, pleasingly, a good level of natural silver.
Our spring-water source provides water for everything on the farm, from drinking and bathing water for the house and holiday lets, to irrigation for our vegetables. So you can enjoy the spring water just by turning a tap or jumping into the hot tub. No nasty chlorine!!
A little while later, we commissioned the well and switched off our mains supply. During the day, the power for the pumps is generated from the farm’s solar array. Our most recent full test analysis report can be viewed here.
Solar Array & Biomass Boiler
During 2013, we installed a 15Kw (about 52 panels) solar array across two of the barn roofs to generate as much of our energy needs onsite as possible. The panels offset approximately 50% of the farm’s electricity usage.
All the farm cottages and farmhouse are heated by our central biomass boiler, which burns a mixture of wood chip produced on the farm and bought-in wood pellets. We use about 20 tonnes of fuel every year. The heat is stored in a 2000-litre water tank and then goes into underground insulated pipework that transmits the heat to each building.