We have planted over thirty acres of native amenity woodland and more than 4km of countryside hedging for the benefit of the wildlife and peoples pleasure. Particularly important, is our Isle of Wight provenance Small Leaf Lime trees. We are lucky enough to be looking after the only group of these trees left on the island and through careful management are increasing their numbers. The Farm is a fantastic place to explore and learn, so don’t forget your wellies!

How this holiday makes a difference

Environment:

The Lodge has been completed with minimal impact on the environment. The building materials are predominantly wood and natural canvas. The safari tents are sat on raised decking reducing the impact on the land.

At the end of 2014 we installed a Biomass Boiler to heat all of the properties at Tapnell Farm.

As well as having two large solar fields (one at Tapnell Farm, and one next door at East Afton farm) we have recently installed solar panels on a farm barn (49KW) and two cottages (6KW).

The sewage is cleaned using a Biodigester pure flow treatment unit, which naturally process the discharge and the treated water is good enough to drink, apparently, though we haven’t tried…

Under the guidance of Natural England we are entering our second five year scheme on Environmental Stewardship. This entailing hedgerow, field corner, woodland and pond edge management and areas planted with wild bird seed crops and the retention of some over-wintered stubbles for feeding of wild birds.

Please keep an eye out for owls, especially barn owls. Ian and Jane Brett who have worked in the Dairy for several decades, assessed the barn owl population to have declined seriously by the 1980’s and then successfully bred enough on the farm; sufficient to be able to donate some surplus owls to the Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre at Ringwood in Dorset.

Our family has been in farming for over one hundred years and we took over the care of Tapnell and East Afton Farms in 1982. The farm now has 300 cows and produces 8,000 litres of fresh wholesome milk each and every day of the year, no exceptions. Our production is sustained 365.25 days a year, every year. You can’t get much more sustainable than that.

We aim to approach our new tourism work with the same mindset and endeavour, combined with the passion for the countryside, farming and the Island. The golden rule for us is “to pass on our farm in better environmental and productive health than it was at the beginning of our life’s tenure”.

Community

We promote and use local cleaners, builders, plumbers, shops and produce where possible. The Island is a relatively small place and you quickly become known so it’s important to work with each other and in harmony. All guest to the safari tents and the farm our always encouraged to utilise the local producers, suppliers, attractions, pubs and restaurants.

Being on the Island brings a greater sense of community and togetherness and due to the obvious and clear borders we use what we can within those borders.

We have no real needs to use external people, as the Island is becoming ever more sustainable as a single entity. We hope to only add to this drive to make the Island sustainable.

Staying at Tom’s Eco Lodge, Tapnell Farm and the Isle of Wight opens up many great local experiences that both young and old can learn from and enjoy. These experiences, as simple as, witnessing a calf being born, might seem unspectacular to those who enjoy country life day in day out, but for most this is a rare experience.

Landscape

Our farm is surrounded by small and randomly shaped fields that form the pasture and meadows of the countryside, which gently undulates from Tapnell Down to the south, to the Hamstead Heritage Coast and coastal woodlands to the north. The picturesque chalk down grassland and forests to the south are not only part of the protected landscape, but are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest and described by Natural England as being “probably the best example in Britain of chalk grassland under maritime influence”. This species rich chalk grassland includes plants such as the Horseshoe Vetch, which supports the Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue Butterflies. The 125m high downland offers spectacular panoramic views of the Protected Landscape and both the Tennyson Heritage Coast along the south of the Island and the Hamstead Heritage Coast along the north of the Island.

We have planted over thirty acres of native woodland and more than 4km of hedgerow with the help of local experts Landscape Therapy, who help manage our landscape for the benefit of the wildlife and peoples pleasure.

Some of our landscape and biodiversity conservation work has been supported and grant aided by the Forestry Commission, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and the West Wight Landscape Partnership. Particularly important, is our Isle of Wight provenience of Small Leaf Lime trees. We are lucky enough to be looking after the only group of these trees left on the island and through careful management they are increasing in number.

We offer walks around the farm and into the parlour, if you don’t mind a bit of muck! We are keen to share our knowledge and understanding of farming in the Landscape. You can join us when we feed the calves and walk the many beautiful routes of the local area; there is much to see and learn, from Tennyson to

Farming.

Being an Island and the definitive borders that come with that means you have a real opportunity to explore the whole Island with freedom that at you are never going to be too far away. So you can just head off where ever you want and enjoy the freedom, without being too lost. This has drifted far from the point but that’s what can happen on the island…