Lees Court Estate, Faversham
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Latest news from the Lees Court Estate

23 Jan 2013

The National Gamekeepers Organisation Award Nomination

lees court news

The Countess Sondes was surprised and excited to learn that she was nominated for the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) Bellamy Award.  In recognition of her commitment she was given a special label badge, which she will wear with pride.

This annual award is given for 'promoting the important role of the gamekeeper in sustainable countryside management'.


27 Nov 2012

Overflow crowd welcomes The Countess Sondes

lees court news

Due to an unexpectedly high turnout of members, an additional room had to be taken to accommodate everyone at the Canterbury Farmers' Club lecture held on Monday 26th November.  The Countess Sondes gave an "enlightened" lecture entittled 'Farming - A Creative Adventue'.

It was particularly meaningful for The Countes to speak to such a prestigious organisation, as the Sondes Family and the Canterbury Farmers' Club can be linked from the 18th Century.

It was fortuitious that the Bishop of Dover was in attendance, as The Countes spoke of the relationship the Estate has with Dover Federation for the Arts and the schools which come under its umbrella.

Richard Davis, Secretary of the Canterbury Farmers' Club said "The Club were delighted to welcome The Countess Sondes to their monthly meeting.  Their enthusiasm is best illustrated by the fact that over 100 members turned out to listen. It was one of the best attended meetings in recent years.  The members were not disappointed and not only learned about the work the Estate is doing in the production of a very wide range of food and non-food crops; but also about the connections between the Sondes Family and the Club going back to the late 18th Century.  The Countes' knowledge of all the activities going on was most impressive and humbled even the die-hard local farmers!  Her passion for the Estate and its survival to benefit future generations was plain for all to see."

23 Nov 2012

Canterbury Farmers Club

lees court news

The Countess Sondes will be giving a talk to the Canterbury Farmers' Club on Monday 26th November 2012 at Hempstead House Hotel, Sittingbourne.  For further information please contact Richard Davis tel: 01795 594495  http://www.canterburyfarmersclub.org.uk

20 Oct 2012

UK Border Agency question Lees Court staff over filming of Joan Rivers

lees court news

Lees Court Estate staff were questioned by the UK Border Agency on Saturday 20th October 2012, after the Agency had received a ‘tip-off’ regarding a suspicious group of people disembarking from two fishing trawlers at Harty Ferry, Kent, a well-known location for illegal immigrants. 

It transpires that it was a group invited by The Countess Sondes of Lees Court Estate, who was hosting her close friend Joan Rivers, her daughter Melissa and film crew as they were shooting an episode of ‘Joan and Melissa, Joan Knows Best!’ for US television.  Lady Sondes was quoted as saying “Given the Lees Court Estate close involvement in the Swale Estuary, it was a great comfort to know that the Border Agency acted in a pro-active, efficient and friendly manner”.

Joan Rivers said ”Even though we were innocent I am so sorry they didn’t arrest us.  I love Englishmen and they were very cute!”

See More Images

25 Sep 2012


lees court news

Wildfowling party getting ready to go out.

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The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code is a set of statutory guidelines on the responsibilities for visitors to the countryside and those who manage the land.

Below is a brief summary, the full code can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code

Respect the local community and other people using the outdoors. Remember your actions can affect people's lives and livelihoods.

  • Respect the needs of local people and visitors alike – for example, don’t block gateways,driveways or other paths with your vehicle.
  • When riding a bike or driving a vehicle, slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals and give them plenty of room. By law, cyclists must give way to walkers and horseriders on bridleways.
  • Co-operate with people at work in the countryside. For example, keep out of the way when farm animals are being gathered or moved and follow directions from the farmer.
  • Busy traffic on small country roads can be unpleasant and dangerous to local people, visitors and wildlife - so slow down and where possible, leave your vehicle at home.
  • Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths.
  • A farmer will normally close gates to keep farm animals in, but may sometimes leave them open so the animals can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs.
  • Follow paths unless wider access is available, such as on open country or registered common land (known as ‘Open Access land’).
  • Leave machinery and farm animals alone – don’t interfere with animals even if you think they’re in distress. Try to alert the farmer instead.
  • Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries if you can – climbing over walls, hedges and fences can damage them and increase the risk of farm animals escaping.
  • Our heritage matters to all of us – be careful not to disturb ruins and historic sites.
  • Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home. Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals. Dropping litter and dumping rubbish are criminal offences.
  • Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property – so be careful with naked flames and cigarettes at any time of the year. 
  • Keep dogs under effective control, when you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control. This means that you: keep your dog on a lead, or keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it’s doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command and ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access
  • It’s always good practice (and a legal requirement on ‘Open Access’ land) to keep your dog on a lead around farm animals and horses, for your own safety and for the welfare of the animals. A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog’s owner.
  • However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead.
  • Always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly –‘ bag it and bin it’.