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Grounds and Gardens

Hawkwood is set in a Grade II listed estate of 42 acres (17 hectares) that includes several different ‘rooms’

Stroud Community Agriculture 

Arriving at Hawkwood the visitor encounters a productive farmland scene of pasture with cows, sheep or pigs, vegetable beds, polytunnels for salad crops , herbs and flowers.  These 22 acres (9 hectares) are managed by Stroud Community Agriculture, a community supported agriculture scheme which feeds 100 member families with fresh, organic produce throughout the year. The land and animals are farmed along biodynamic principles which are proven to increase yields and improve flavour. Monthly farm days involve families in shared tasks such as haymaking, planting out seedlings and applying biodynamic preparation to the land.

Ponds and Wetlands

An award-winning ecological water treatment system of ponds and wetlands manages all household output  including bathroom, laundry, and catering without recourse to septic tank or main drains.  The output is channelled through a system of five ponds, four of which have water features in the form of ‘flowforms’ that cleanse the water through aeration and vortex action. After cleansing, the fluid is absorbed into a designated area planted with willows, which are harvested for basket-making.

Spring and Giant Sycamore

A natural spring arises in the garden and is a popular spot among local friends for collecting fresh water. This water  source continues down the hill in a culverted stream until it reaches the brook at the edge of the Hawkwood property. Above the spring is a giant sycamore tree, possibly 250 years old.  Due to a recent limb-drop, the tree’s rain circle is roped off to discourage compaction and allow the tree’s superficial roots to flourish and support the tree’s recovery.  Near the spring is a ground-level labyrinth maze  and seating area in a sunny spot.

Mature gardens

About 10 acres (4 hectares) of mature gardens surround the house and converted stables.  Large trees, flower borders, a rockery and a water feature create a dramatic, colourful environment with far reaching views over the Severn Vale.

Walled garden and orchard

Behind the house is a half- walled kitchen garden and orchard providing apples for cooking and juicing, soft fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers for cutting. All produce is grown along biodynamic principles by head gardener, Bernard Jarman and a team of willing volunteers.

Woodland Sanctuary

Walking from the walled garden the visitor spots the Woodland Sanctuary nestled among the trees.  This small building was created to support quiet contemplation and silence in our busy world. It is kept warm throughout the year and anyone is welcome to make use of the space. Regular meditations are held on Sunday and Wednesday mornings.

Woodland

10 acres (4 hectares) of mixed woodland form a protective  border around the east and north sides of the estate. The main species are mature beech, ash, hazel and larch with a rich understorey. The local Woodfuel Group manage the woodland in exchange for firewood.  Local people walk their dogs and enjoy the woods on a daily basis.

Outdoor classroom

An outdoor classroom is in development behind the walled garden. This was initiated by a youth project and includes a fire pit, herb beds, outdoor kitchen,  pizza oven and compost toilet. We are seeking funds to complete this amenity during 2015 to full safety standards.

Biodiversity

Protected Horshoe bats are found in the outbuildings and the various parts of the estate afford protection and fodder for many species, yet to be surveyed in full.  Twenty-one species of birds have been spotted by an amateur twitcher –including a hawk, several goldcrests (smallest bird in UK), a couple of nuthatches and a pair of ravens. Over 20 is considered good.