Farm rich in wildlife up for sale

A lake at Ashmans Farm, Kelvedon, which is being offered for sale through estate agents Savills.

A lake at Ashmans Farm, Kelvedon, which is being offered for sale through estate agents Savills. - Credit: Archant

A family farm rich in wildlife which includes income-producing woodland and multiple species of willow and poplar is being offered up for sale with a guide price of £1.95million.

Willow trees at Ashmans Farm, Kelvedon, which is being offered for sale through estate agents Savill

Willow trees at Ashmans Farm, Kelvedon, which is being offered for sale through estate agents Savills. - Credit: Archant

A family farm rich in wildlife which includes income-producing woodland and multiple species of willow and poplar is being offered up for sale with a guide price of £1.95million.

Ashmans Farm at Kelvedon, north of Witham, stretches to just over 67 hectares and comes with productive arable land, woodland, a stocked fishing lake and a period five bedroom farmhouse and bedroom annexe, along with a range of traditional and modern farm buildings.

Willow harvested from the farm is used for a range of purposes, including for cricket bats and basketry, and willow leaves are used for ceremonial purposes within the Jewish community. The site has also been used for basket weaving workshops.

The property is bounded to one side by the River Blackwater but with good access on to the A12 dual carriageway, say Savills estate agents, which is marketing the property.

Willow baskets at Ashmans Farm, Kelvedon, which is being offered for sale through estate agents Savi

Willow baskets at Ashmans Farm, Kelvedon, which is being offered for sale through estate agents Savills. - Credit: Archant

“Having been farmed in hand by the vendors for a number of years, it offers a unique opportunity to purchase an interesting and varied family unit in an attractive location but with excellent links to other parts of the county and London,” it says.

The farm has been in the same family for four generations.

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Jenny Goodwin, one of seven siblings in the current generation, said her great grandfather had started to farm there in around 1885. Jenny’s mother, Jill Goodwin, who died a couple of years ago, was author of A Dyer’s Manual

“We had a very active childhood here and our mother was very active in crafts – spinning, weaving and dying,” she said. Brother Robert added: “There are many, many opportunities, both ongoing and around the corner, for whoever is coming in.”

Autumn ploughing on Ashmans Farm with the house in the distance, and coppice in the background.

Autumn ploughing on Ashmans Farm with the house in the distance, and coppice in the background. - Credit: Archant

The woodland area supported “a wonderful abundance of wildlife”, he said. Even just after the first block of woodland was planted, they had found about 43 bird species on the site.

“Willow is second only to oak on the ecological food chain,” he said. From the early 1990s, the farm was involved in growing willow and poplar for biomass and was one of five farms across the country to take part in a Government-sponsored pilot scheme for renewable energy production. There were just under 200 varieties of willow and about 60 varieties of poplar grown there, he said.

Income from the woodland areas is in the region of £60,000 a year, a large part of which is derived from the willow plantations, says Savills.

Aerial view of Ashmans Farm which shows the house and different willow and poplar coppices in the ba

Aerial view of Ashmans Farm which shows the house and different willow and poplar coppices in the background. - Credit: Archant