Farmer: Andrew Francis
Address: Elveden Farms Ltd, Elveden, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 3TQ
The Elveden Estate, owned by the Guinness Family since 1984, is set in the heart of East Anglia, on the Norfolk Suffolk border. The estate is one of the largest single farm units in lowland Britain compromising of 9100ha. Of this 9100ha, 50% is farmed, whilst a large proportion is under environmental designation. Economies of scale and a long history of harnessing the latest technology ensure that Elveden stays at the forefront of innovation. The extensive diversification at Elveden presents a great example of this. Elveden is renowned for growing root vegetable and cereal crops.
Elveden is a 9100ha estate on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. Approximately 50% of the land is farmed by 37 full time staff. Elveden in renowned for root vegetables and cereals. The soil type is sand with flints over chalk.
Crops for Food
Elveden produces a wide range of field vegetables and arable crops which are sold in supermarkets and manufacturers for leading product brands. Cereals are largely grown as break crops whilst onions, potatoes, carrots and parsnips are the primary output. A proportion of potatoes are sold through the ‘Garden of Elveden’ branding to restaurants and wholesalers whilst ‘Elveden Produce’ packs and brands Elveden onions for supermarket processing. More recently, the farm has diversified with a Kitchen Garden, growing niche varieties of vegetables for high-end restaurants.
Although Elveden is largely arable, there is a flock of sheep and a South Devon suckler herd on the estate. The sheep have been brought in to help with heathland management whilst the cattle have been introduced to supply local meat through the farm shop
Elveden Estate is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and has a long tradition of farming with environmental responsibility. 1400ha of the estate is natural breckland which hosts many rare plants such as Perrenial Knawel, Spanish Catchfly and Fingered Speedwell. In addition, there are a number of prominent bird species including the Woodlark, Nightjar and Lapwing and Elveden are proud to host a significant proportion of the UK’s Stone Curlew breeding pairs. The conservation department monitors Stone Curlew populations and marks nests to protect them from farming operations. Residents on the estate are encouraged to record wildlife in their gardens and report back.
We are delighted to be a LEAF Demonstration Farm and are eager to share our passion for farmming with organised groups. We are also keen to develop the farm and other operations through learning from visiting groups. The Courtyard Shops, Café Restaurant and Elveden Inn are open to the public seven days a week, so access to an element of the farm is always possible. However, tours to the wider estate must be booked in advance.
About LEAF Demonstration Farms
LEAF Demonstration Farms are commercial farms, which show the beneficial practices of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) to a broad range of audiences, through organised visits. They communicate an understanding of IFM in order to encourage uptake by farmers, support from the industry and political awareness of sustainable food and farming. For more information, visit archive.leafuk.org.
Visit this farm
Click here to arrange a visit to this LEAF Demonstration Farm.