Swan Barn Farm
70 acres/28 ha
Swan Barn Farm consists of pasture and ancient woodland along the valley east of Haslemere High Street. The barn-style buildings comprise the Hunter Base Camp, which accommodates long-term volunteers, who assist with the management of Black Down, and offers hostel-style accommodation for National Trust working holiday groups.
With the recent addition of the ‘Speckled Wood’ extension designed by Grand Designs’ Ben Law, the building has been transformed into an eco-house complete with biomass boiler, solar panels and a supplementary supply of green water from rain catchment.
Swan Barn Farm is run as a smallholding with two orchards, chickens, beehives and a vegetable garden. Rangers give regular bee-keeping and cider making demonstrations. The pasture offers sheltered grazing for rare Belted Galloway cattle (belties), especially for new calves, when they are not on Black Down or Marley Common. The pasture is also cut for hay to supplement their winter feed.
What to look for
The Speckled Wood extension is a timber framed building with traditional wattle and daub walls which makes it exceptionally energy efficient. The chickens are, the now rarely seen, Speckled Sussex variety which help to feed the volunteers who live and work at Swan Barn Farm.
The orchards at Swan Barn Farm have been planted with support from Natural England and the Black Down & Hindhead Supporters as well as the local community. They contain many traditional local and rare varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry. In autumn, community apple pressing days are held producing the freshest, best tasting apple juice. The orchards are awash with blossom in the spring and offer a habitat for a wide range of wildlife throughout the year.
Fauna and Flora of particular interest
In April and May you will find wonderful displays of celandine, wood anemone and bluebells in the woodland and later, in early June, common spotted orchids can be found in the wet fields running through the valley. Through their grazing munching and trampling action the Belted Galloways help to manage the habitat encouraging many species of butterfly. The valley at Swan Barn has a number of streams and ponds running through it; in early spring a vibrant population of frogs, toads and newts make the most of the wet conditions and the ponds are filled with their spawn.
Don’t forget to buy our detailed map to get the most out of your visit. Click here for details.
For more information click here to go to the National Trust site.