South Elmham Hall Farm Walks
Walks are open every day all year and are free. There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the barn accept on Saturdays, when a wedding is taking place, when parking for walkers is located just inside the main gate beside the recycling area.
Dogs are welcome although they must be kept on a lead or under very close control at all times. We provide alternative routes, where possible, avoiding fields with livestock. Please follow diversions and take care not to disturb grazing animals. If you are walking through a field of cattle with a dog on a lead and the cattle become curious and get close it is safer to let the dog go and walk calmly to the nearest gate. Call you dog once you are safely out of the field.
We have created a network of permissive paths which allow you to explore the farm and a map with information about the history and wildlife. You can download it here by clicking on the link or pick up a copy at the start of the walk. Our own paths are crisscrossed by public rights of way so you can link up with these using OS Explorer Map 231 and explore the wider countryside.
Always Follow the County Code
• Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs
• Leave gates and property as you find them
• Protect plants and animals and take your litter home
• Keep dogs under close control
• Consider other people
All our walks start from the barn car park. The circular route which takes in the Ruined South Elmham Minster and is marked by a series of red topped posts, takes about 1 hour. The route goes through unspoilt meadows, part of the former medieval deer park, past ancient pollarded Hornbeam trees, thought to be over 500 years old and back through young woodlands with lovely views of the valley. The landscape, views and wildlife change with the seasons. See our farm diary for up to date information.
FARMING AND CONSERVATION
We farm 450 acres of mixed arable organic and conventionally crops including wheat, barley, beans, oil seed rape, sugar beet and clover leys for silage. The whole farm has been in Countryside Stewardship for nearly 20 years, with support from this scheme we have been able to increase public access, plant new woodlands, coppice and plant new hedges, restore ponds and leave areas specifically for wildlife to flourish.
We are working farm and you may encounter our animals on your walks, we are not a petting farm please do not approach or disturb the livestock.
The large brown cows are Simmentals, we also have a Simmental bull when he is in a field with a footpath you will see signs on the gates, Caution Bull in Field, always take care to keep your distance when walking through fields where a bull in present. The white cows with black noses and ears are British Whites, a rare breed traditionally kept by religious orders. The odd coloured ones are crosses between the two, or Aberdeen Angus crosses, all are kept as sucklers, which means calves are reared by their mother until naturally weaned.
We also have small flock of 30 sheep, they are no particular breed just a good mix. They are visited each autumn by a Charollais ram and produce about 50 lambs in March/April. The organic beef and lamb are sold through the café and wedding menus.
Traditional mixed grazing encourages a more diverse range of plants, insects and mammals.
Many species are present on the farm all year Barn Owls are most visible in spring when they will hunt longer hours as they have chicks to feed, look out for them over the rough areas of long grass and sitting on fence post. Hares are also easy to see all year but especially in early spring when they chose big open fields to do their annual boxing. In winter the hedges are full of mixed flocks of finches including the big red breasted Bullfinch and as well as resident kestrels and sparrow hawks and the farm is frequently visited by Buzzards. There are three species of native deer plus the naturalised muntjac deer which is very common. Look out for the weasel family, they live in an ancient hollow tree stump on the edge of the minster and if you don’t see a fox you will most probably smell one!