It Begins with The Soil: Travelling and Eating The Plant-Positive Way

© All Photos Courtesy of Heckfield Place

By Allie Murray

Situated along the beauty of the Hampshire countryside in England, in an elegant Georgian family home, sits Heckfield Place, an organic farm estate and luxury hotel.

Heckfield Place opened its doors four years ago with a simple goal: to reconnect its home and farm to the local community. To do so, they opened to welcome guests to stay in the historic house and introduced a certified bio-dynamic market garden and organic farm, commonly known as the Home Farm.

“Everything we do relates to nature—from the house itself, which, like so many grand English houses, is positioned to align with the movement of the sun, to our fully certified biodynamic market garden, farm-to-fork offering, and natural skincare line,” General Manager Kevin Brooke explained. “In an increasingly turbulent world, this is a place that feels timely in its pursuit. A place that stands out of time, seeking to impart wisdom and inspire change.

© Courtesy of Heckfield Place
© Courtesy of Heckfield Place

The home itself was built in the 1760s and has been lightly restored to breathe new life into the 250-year-old home, being referred to by the owners as a place to redefine the idea of a country hotel.

“As we respect this 250-year-old history, we look forward to a 250 year new plan,” he said. “Heckfield Place is a land sculpted by many hands, minds, and ideas over hundreds of years. Today we act as custodians of this remarkable estate.”

The home has been restored to include various activities for guests, including a screening room, which is open to both residents and outside visitors. The screening room plays films, live screenings, and film festivities and is available for private events.

The rooms available for booking vary in size and look, including signature rooms, master rooms, chamber rooms, and more. There are six signature rooms, the Long Room, Lake Room, Heath Room, Coppice Room, Ochre Room, and the Church Lodge. Each offers picturesque views of the grounds and different designs for a unique and homey feel.

The Church Lodge is a separate cottage on the grounds, tucked away with its own gardens and surrounding landscapes. The cottage is built with a black and white timbered gatehouse with a gentle palette and details to match the surrounding landscapes.

Heckfield Place - Global Heroes
The Church Lodge © Courtesy of Heckfield Place

Heckfield Place operates on 438 acres of land and is working towards a zero carbon footprint. Spread across the home and the farm, the staff have planted hundreds of trees and cared for cows, pigs, chickens, and an abundance of crops.

With their all-natural skincare line, Heckfield Place opened The Little Bothy Spa, with a focus on offering all-natural treatments and exclusive products from the line, called the Wildsmith Skin range. Similarly, the spa opened spaces for personal training, yoga, and pilates classes.

“In the sanctuary of the spa, the emphasis is on wellness and a deep connection to our natural surroundings, with ingredients drawn from our apothecary garden and juices and infusions made fresh each day,” Brooke explained.

To expand their belief that good stems from the soil, Heckfield Place fosters a positive mindset on our inner soil: the mind and body. In 2022, The Little Bothy Spa is expanding to open Bothy Spa, a space to encourage reconnecting with nature.

Bothy Spa is found on the grounds just off of the walled garden and focuses on the power of healing and movement.

The new-and-improved spa is set to open in 2022, but in the meantime, The Little Bothy Spa is still welcoming guests in with open arms.

While staying at the house, meals are prepared from the crops grown onsite to foster a healthier lifestyle and reduce food waste, with, of course, a strong focus on the flavour of the food they offer. The essence of the home is to be a place where food, company, and philosophy coexist seamlessly.

The farm is seen as the soul of Heckfield Place—it provides everything for the house, from food to flowers, honey, and so much more.

Heckfield Place - Global Heroes
© Courtesy of Heckfield Place

In 2020, they expanded the farm even further, opening seven new greenhouses to grow a variety of produce, as well as seasonal flowers. The farmers also opened a dairy farm, which is home to 42 cows to create cheese, milk, cream, butter, and yogurts for the house, as well as 59 Suffolk sheep.

“Every ounce of produce that comes from our market garden and home farm is precious,” Brooke said. “And as such, we’ve committed to a zero-waste policy. From preserving gluts into cordials or preserves, to championing unloved and overlooked bits like carrot tops in our Earth menu, our aim is to either consume or reuse as compost for our living soil.”

The Heckfield Place teams believe that everything begins with good, clean soil. With this mindset, they work towards standing up for our planet and working to be a plant-positive place not only with the work they do but also by giving back to the community.

“The market garden, Home Farm, and no-waste philosophy capture the essence of our approach—starting with good, clean soil, standing for something planet-positive and joyful, and giving back to the community and the planet,” he shared.

On the property, Heckfield Place boasts five eateries: the Marle, Hearth, Glass House, Moon Bar, and The Cellar. Each is unique to its own flavours but remains locally grown.

The Cellar is nestled beneath the house and is home to wines from established and emerging producers. Again noting the power of the soil, the wine available at The Cellar is diverse in region and variety and features a selection of wines that are perfect for everyday enjoyment or even the rarest of blends.

“In a time of unbelievable discoveries and unprecedented modernity, we find ourselves looking to forgotten skills and lost ways of living,” Brooke said. “Heckfield Place is an antidote to modern living. A way of seeing luxury in a new way.”

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