Sclater Estates Ltd
Sclater Estates Ltd owns a 2,500 acre Estate between the villages of Barcombe, Newick, Isfield and Chailey. The Estate has views extending to the South Downs National Park, to the Ashdown Forest Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and across the Ouse Valley.
The Estate is owned by the Sclater family. The family and their team farm 1900 acres of land with three dairy herds. Dairy farming is the main enterprise with 800 milking cows divided into three herds in separate locations across the Estate. We are one of the few dairy farmers in the locality. We are also foresters. In addition to Christmas trees, we actively manage 700 acres of mainly semi-ancient natural woodland. We have planted 200,000 oak trees and smaller numbers of many other species since the 1970’s.
Every generation brings something new to the Estate and in 2017 we started a Christmas tree enterprise. We planted 22,500 trees in 2017 and have on ongoing programme for planting about twenty thousand trees per annum until 2024. Our aim is to produce the highest quality Christmas trees and to sell the very freshest of trees with the lowest of “tree miles”. As a family business, we look after our Christmas trees both with specialised machinery, by hand and with local labour throughout the year in order to produce trees which are perfectly balanced at the time of harvest.
We do all we can to care for the environment in which we live and we have signed up to the Entry Level and Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Schemes. We have acres of uncropped grass margins and headlands around the farm creating wildlife corridors for insects, birds, reptiles and mammals of all sorts. We have areas left for particular birds and now have an annual visitation from a flock of Lapwings which nest and breed on the farm. The Estate is home to three types of deer along with foxes, badgers, bats, owls (barn, tawny and little) and many varieties of dragon flies, butterflies, frogs, toads and newts – to name a few of our residents. Our Christmas tree fields are very beneficial to all sorts of wildlife. We use the minimum amount of nutrients and pesticides on our trees which allows more plants and wildflowers to grow around the trees which benefits bees, insects, birds and small mammals.