Operator: Brett Group
Restored to: Agricultural land use
Laleham Farm was worked for sand and gravel from the late 1960s until the mid 1990s by Greenham Construction Materials Ltd now part of Brett Group. During this period, the site won a Cooper-Heyman Cup. Barry Bransden both farmed and managed the restoration and his son is the present tenant.
Extraction was carried out in phases and innovative progressive restoration was used. This enabled restoration to be achieved within 18 months, after which cultivation of the land restarted.
A careful assessment of topsoil quality and thickness took place during both the planning and extraction phase. Topsoil was then replaced in a balanced way over the site significantly improving conditions for crop growth.
Hedges and ditches introduced during extraction have provided wildlife corridors. A small lake has been retained and developed which attracts ducks, geese, amphibians and dragonflies. Lapwings, skylark, little ringed plovers and yellow wagtails are also frequent visitors.
Along the eastern boundary is a two metre high elm tree hedge cut into an A shape. The cultivation of the hedge is a remarkable achievement and it is a feature of great interest in the landscape.
The farmland looks immaculate, as do the roads that serve the farm. Over nine crops, including fennel, coriander and spring onions, are successfully grown here and supplied to London wholesale markets, local farm shops, greengrocers and farmers markets.
Laleham Farm has been restored to productive agricultural use and its outstanding appearance makes it very hard to tell extraction has ever taken place there. For the exceptional standard of its restoration, Laleham Farm is the 'best of the best', 40th Anniversary Trophy winner.