Latest news from the Lees Court Estate
23 Apr 2020
Coronavirus - Archaeology
Kent Archaeological Society and Lees Court Estate have decided to postpone all archaeological activities for this year. We look forward to welcoming back the Team and all the volunteers in 2021.
23 Apr 2020
Coronavirus - Seasonal Work
The Estate Office has received several calls enquiring about Seasonal Work during this pandemic. Unfortunately, we do not have any seasonal work available. However, our tenant farmer John Higgs at Owens Court Farm, will be requiring Seasonal Workers and he can be contacted on 07956 758739.
23 Apr 2020
Coronavirus - Shooting
We are pleased to confirm the 2020/2021 season for the Lees Court Shoot will continue as planned. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Elizabeth Roberts at the Estate Office on 01227 731331 or 07813 880373 to discuss your requirements.
06 Aug 2019
The Countess Sondes to speak at the CLA Conference 2019
The Countess Sondes is honoured to accept the invitation from the Country Landowners and Business Association to be one of the Speakers at the 2019 CLA Rural Business Conference held in London on the 28th November.
Lady Sondes will explain her approach to maximising the assets of the Estate in new and progressive ways.
For further information https://www.cla.org.uk/conference2019
05 Jul 2019
Kent County Show Long Service Award
At the 2019 Kent County Agricultural Show, Kim Acres, the Farm Foreman was presented with the KCAS Long Service Award
Kim Acres started at the Lees Court Estate in December 1977. At that time the in-hand Farm was 420 acres with three members of staff, led by Bill Harbour who had started a few months previously as Farm Manager. The in –hand farm has increased in size to approximately 1,000 acres and has seen many developments over the years including growing Non-Food Crops. Lees Court Farms has become the recognised leader in the development and growing of Echium in particular. Kim has been champion ploughman at the East Kent Ploughing Match..
Kim continued to work alongside Bill for a further 35 years. Following Bill’s retirement in 2012 Kim has single-handedly taken on the running of the farm as Farm Foreman. Lees Court Farms led the Strutt & Parker Farm Yield Leader Board for 2018 and has regularly been ranked in the top three. Strutt & Parker has stated “The Lees Court Estate in Kent is one of the most successful wheat growers in the country”.
Lady Sondes commented, “we have been exploring progressive areas of farming and interesting new markets to overcome some of the uncertainties facing farming. Kim has shown resourcefulness and dedication to delivering excellence in these challenging new areas; without compromising the high performance of our conventional cropping programme. I am grateful to Kim for his contribution over the decades to my late husband and me and for the successes at Lees Court Farms of which I am very proud.”
Kim is married to Heather and they have lived at Gosmere Farm for over 20 years ; they have 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
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’.