The Medieval Grange of Staplehurst is set in 183 acres of unspoilt countryside, including 50 acres of ancient woodland, and has been in the Abbott family since 1927. Record’s going back as far as the 12th century tell us it was then overseen by Quarr Abbey, a Benedictine monastery situated between Ryde and Fishbourne, as part of Arreton Manor. However, as one of the wealthiest Granges on the Island it was an important part of the Abbey estate and eventually bought by them in the 16th Century as a rich corn producing region, coming under the overall mandate of the larger Arreton Manor.
The buildings, as with any farm, have had new additions over the years, but the main farmhouse and outbuildings have been in play for hundreds of years. It is said that on misty evenings the Ghostly Monk can sometimes be seen and often heard bemoaning his lot.
Farm entrance and courtyard
With an ever-increasing awareness in the benefits of natural products and aromatherapy, the Abbotts felt that the farm, with its sunny south-facing fields on well-drained sandy and gravel soil, would be an ideal location to grow and promote lavender and its many uses. With a new purpose the farm was renamed, and The Lavender Farm was born.
The conversion to lavender growing was not an easy one. It took several years and a great deal of effort to prepare the land and soil to make it suitable for growing what was to become award-winning lavender. The tearoom and shop also had to be planned and developed.
Most importantly, there was the researching and growing of the lavender itself. From the many different cultivars the best variants had to be found for the farms particular soil and location. This choice of cultivar enables the production of the high-quality essential oils used in the products available in the farm shop. Latterly, we have had to bring in other quality lavender stocks of oils and dried plant as the capacity of the farm has been outstripped by customer demand.
Images of the lovely gardens in late summer
The chosen variant for the Lavender Farm is "Lavandula angustifolia", also known as true lavender or English lavender, although it is not in fact native to Britain, but Mediterranean countries. The oil it provides is of the highest quality and allows us to produce the best soaps and lotions, scented bath oils, creams and balms.
Please bear in mind that The Lavender Farm is also a working sheep farm as well as a plant nursery, and our sheep’s well-being is very important to us. Due to the potential for spreading sheep worm onto the farm and the distress that some dogs can cause to sheep, with the exception of assistance dogs, we need to err on the safe side and regretfully have a policy of no dogs.
Rare Breed Sheep
Our flock of sheep are Dorset Horn’s, and are on the rare breed watch list. They are one of the oldest type of sheep bred on the Island and we have over 40 in the flock, including the prize winning ram ‘Mr Woods’.
Also, as this is a working farm, please be aware of passing farm machinery and take into account private areas and gates, which are often closed for your safety. Please don't ignore them!
Being a working farm Reuben has his work cut out but still manages to grow enchanting award winning flowers
The Rose Quest
Reuben has always been a keen lover of roses as well as lavender. One of his new horticultural quests is that of the Isle of Wight Rose, and he is already three years into the development cycle of around ten years to cultivate a really special new and very “smelly” rose.
The real driving element here is Jill, Reuben's wife and business partner, who has the misfortune to suffer from a poor sense of smell. When Jill can smell the fragrance Rueben knows he has created a really smelly rose.
Jam or cream first? Whilst waiting for your gorgeous cream tea, have a think…Devon and Cornwall have their own fixed ideas, but we’re on the Isle of Wight and can do as we please. Check our placemats to help with your debate…
If you don’t fancy a cream tea, we offer a range of cakes from award-winning local bakers Calbourne Classics. Their Luxury Lemon Drizzle and Crunchy Fruit Cake taste even better than they sound
Our menu also offers freshly prepared light lunches, from salads and sandwiches to the perennial favourite, and as we’re on a farm, very apt, Ploughman’s
We carry a wide range of fair trade teas, coffees and fruit infusions. A particular favourite is our lavender tea…after the first soothing cup you’ll be looking for another.
If you need any help choosing just ask our staff who’ll do their best to recommend something suitable.
The tea rooms and the lovely cakes and snacks on offer
We offer a selection of lavender-based products at our shop, all produced from the essential oil extracted from the variant lavandula angustifolia, which provides the highest quality oil. You’ll also find a wide range of aroma therapy essential and massage oils, Pot Pourri and scented candles.
We are expanding our range as we source suitable, quality products so it’s always worth a look in the shop each time you visit us. These higher-quality products cost more but we make an effort to keep prices down so that they are more accessible.
Together with the shop we also run an online presence offering over 250 products. This is gives you the convenience of ordering from us if we’re closed or you can’t make it down to the farm. When you have the time, have a browse and maybe treat yourself.
"The Lavender Farm Mob"
Reuben and Jill Abbott are very conscious of how lucky they are to live in such an idyllic place. They are also aware of how good working in such tranquil surroundings can be for both mental and physical wellbeing, and love sharing it with others.
In view of this they have set up a group for people who would like to spend more time here, helping out in the garden. They’ve named it ‘The Lavender Farm Mob’ and those of you old enough will know it’s a play on the title of the lovely Alec Guinness comedy of 1951, “The Lavender Hill Mob” . We hope the choice of our engaging name will be bring a smile to face of those that can remember.
Follow the link to find out more and how you can join the “The Lavender Farm Mob”