The farm was given to Gaia in 2013 as a legacy from its owner, Martin Appleton. The farm had never been run intensively and is rich in wildlife, including 10 of the resident species of bats in the UK, including the three rarest. Mr Appleton gave the farm to Gaia because of our experience in sustainable farming.
The farm consists of sixty seven hectares of woodland and unimproved grazing land. The land is subject to a Mid Tier Stewardship Agreement and farmed through a local tenant farmer. Some of the woodland is in the National Inventory of Woodland and Trees
As well as the farm land, the site includes a run-down farmhouse, stone/slate barns, numerous outbuildings, a derelict dairy and more modern agricultural buildings in various states of disrepair.
Sarah Matta worked with Martin for fifteen years looking after his estate and is working with The Gaia Trust to preserve Martin’s dream. She says: “Martin was a farmer all his life and managed the Bodwannick stock farm, but his real passion was gardening. The garden is his life’s work and it’s fantastic that other people are getting to enjoy it too.”
There is an aura of peace and tranquillity at Bodwannick Manor Farm and its gardens that is quite distinctive. The garden’s air of antiquity is deceptive as this is the loving creation of the Appleton family over nearly forty years. This beautiful garden has been open in the past under the National Gardens Scheme, and the Gaia Trust will work towards reopening it again.
Gaia plans to restore the farmhouse and use it and the garden as a base for therapeutic activities centred on engagement with nature, to improve the wider farmland for nature and to create better public access.