A Place to Explore
Hawkwood has been generously supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DEFRA to fund the project: "Improving Our Visitor Offer: A Place to Explore"
Hawkwood grounds are open to the public year-round. Our sustainably managed land includes an ancient woodland, gardens and a natural spring. They provide a perfect calm environment for rest, learning and connecting with nature.
Hawkwood has been awarded a grant provided by both the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and by Defra.
We will be creating a visitor exploration hub & community cafe, alongside converting a storeroom into a new open studio and gallery space. We have also expanded our visitor car park and resurfaced some approaching or connecting slopes.
Stroud Community Agriculture
Arriving at Hawkwood you are greeted with a working farmland scene, with fields of 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 according to biodynamic principles, which are proven to increase yields and improve flavour, which you may notice if you try any of the delicious food from our kitchen. Monthly farm days involve local 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 our household waste, including bathroom, laundry, and catering without the need for a septic tank or main drains. The waste is channelled through a system of five ponds, four of which have water features in the form of ‘flowforms’ that cleanse the water. After cleansing, the fluid is absorbed into a designated area planted with willows, which are harvested for basket-making.
Spring and Giant Sycamore
We are lucky enough to have a natural spring in our garden here at Hawkwood, and guests are welcome to try the water and drink from it. The spring is a popular spot among locals for collecting fresh water. Above the spring is a magnificent giant sycamore tree, possibly 250 years old. Near the spring is a ground-level labyrinth maze and seating area in a sunny spot.
About 10 acres (4 hectares) of beautifully maintained gardens surround the house and converted stables. Large trees, flower borders, a rockery and a water feature create a gorgeous setting to explore, 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. All produce is grown along biodynamic principles by head gardener, Bernard Jarman and our helpful team of volunteers.
If you keep walking along from the walled garden you will come across our 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.
The Woodland Sanctuary is the culmination of an 8 year-long project originally conceived by Lawrence Hart and Girish Patel. Their aim was to create a place of silent contemplation for use by Hawkwood, its guests and the wider community: a place of refuge and inner stillness.
10 acres (4 hectares) of beautiful mixed woodland form a protective border around the east and north sides of the estate. You will find a huge variety of flora and fauna including ancient beech, ash, hazel and larch trees. The local Woodfuel Group manage this woodland in exchange for firewood. The public come to walk their dogs and of course our guests are welcome to enjoy the woods on a daily basis. Please keep your dogs on leads within the gardens and remember to pick up after your dog.
An outdoor classroom is under 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. The classroom is scheduled for completion in 2020; if you have any questions about renting the space please get in touch.
As dusk falls look out for the protected Horshoe bats which roost in the outbuildings and the various parts of the estate. There are many species of bat here, and they are yet to be surveyed in full. 21 species of birds have been spotted by one of our visitors – including a hawk, several goldcrests (the smallest bird in UK), a couple of nuthatches and a pair of ravens.