South Elmham Hall Farm. St. Cross, East Suffolk.

Information from signs at South Elmham Hall Farm and Bateman's Barn

St. Cross farm walks.

Welcome to South Elmham Hall Farm. By following the marked footpaths you will see a unique combination of a modern arable farm which has retained many historical and traditional features and some excellent wildlife habitats.

The 15 hectares hectares of grazing meadows shown here are being managed without the use of chemicals. Much of the land is adjacent to the Beck, a tributary of the River Waveney and elsewhere are ponds, springlines and moats.

This area is historically very important and remains of an 11th Century Saxon Minster can be seen. Countryside Stewardship, in combination with the Public Right of Way network and permissive farm trails, provides good opportunities for enjoying the history, wildlife and landscape.

The Minster's past is shrouded in mystery. The present ruin is part of an 11th century church thought to commemorate a 7th century wooden minster on the same site.

The 13th century hall was originally a bishop's hunting lodge set in a deer park. You can still see some old parkland trees - notably pollarded hornbeams - in the wet meadows around the minster. The moat was a 13th century status symbol indicating the wealth of the owner. It also provided fish and water for the house.

British white cattle were once commonly kept in East Anglia for meat and milk. Like many old breeds of farm animals they were becoming quite rare. Now, due to the efforts of a few dedicated breeders, they are on the increase again.

On a modern farm it is the hedges, ponds, woodlands and ancient meadows which are home to most of the wildlife. Many of the hedges on this farm are hundreds of years old. They contain numerous different shrubs and give shelter to many creatures including hedgehogs, voles, shrews, wrens and finches. Debb's Lane is an ancient green lane. In spring and early summer it is lined with primroses and cowslips.

Some of the food produced on the farm...
Wheat for flour, Sugar beet, Barley for malting, Peas and Beans for freezing, Beef and Lamb.

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