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The Collins family started farming at Ashlyns in 1970.
Originally farming organically and assisted by a 5 year Countryside Stewardship Scheme we carried out many environmental improvements: arable field margins, recreating water meadows, composting, beetle banks, maintaining ancient hedgerows and woodlands and new plantings.
We need as many hedges and beetle banks as possible to harbour the predatory insects we rely on to control aphids. Birds, butterflies and bumblebees thrive on the clover leys we grow to maintain soil fertility. Instead of the monoculture of winter wheat and oil seed rape that has led to such a decline in bird populations we are growing a multitude of different crops providing diverse habitats where wild flowers and insects can co-exist.
We are passionate about the environment and since this scheme Ashlyns has become more vibrant and diverse. Wildlife has increased, hedges and beetle banks have been established. Wild flower grasslands line the Cripsey Brook and our lake has an island and pools for wildfowl. Unspoilt, Old Essex Countryside…
In 2011 we had to make some big decisions about how we farmed our land in the future. Due to the nature of our land, which has a high weed seed burden, we decided to revert to conventional farming but in a more sympathetic manner.
Everything we have learnt from farming organically has been incorporated into a more modern style of farming that will allow us to produce maximum yields to help meet the ever increasing demands of food supply within the country. An increasing population is putting huge strains on food security and we are based in the “Bread Basket of England” and we need to produce as much wheat as possible but not to the detriment of our environment.
Ashlyns and the Collins family are dedicated to maintaining the link between food and farming through our catering partnerships. We believe that everyone should know where their food comes from.
The video below shows Katie combing wheat in Mound Field.
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© 2018 Ashlyns .