Henden Manor Estates is a dairy farm, which produces high quality milk from Holstein Friesian livestock under strict conditions.
Henden is some 500 acres of land in west Kent, just beneath Ide Hill and Toys Hill, southwest of the town of Sevenoaks. The land comprises 320 acres of good quality land which is used for forage, 62 acres of grazing and amenity land and 99 acres of woodland. In addition there are over three acres of water in two reservoirs, nine acres associated with the farm buildings and related infrastructure and seven acres associated with the Manor House.
Typically of our total 320 acres of forage land we utilise 54% for grass, 30% for maize and16% for Winter Wheat. These numbers are gross and cited before consideration is taken for verges and other areas left under land management schemes and to help stimulate flor and fauna.
The land is clay, which presents its challenges. In the dry months, the earth can be like concrete. In the Winters, the land is soft and difficult to get around. Often it is impossible in the Winters to get tractors to run over the ground. This seriously hinders land management and, importantly, the spreading of livestock waste back onto the ground. This can cause problems and occasionally anxiety. It also adds to the cost of operations.
Henden Manor itself is in the centre of the Estate, surrounded by an old moat and lying in seven acres of gardens and parkland.
The Estate has footpaths and bridleways crossing over it, which allow walkers and riders to enjoy the land and views. Such rights of way are well signposted, thus allowing the public without maps to cross the estate and enjoy it without getting lost
In 2017, we lost several calves before birth because their mothers had ingested neospora. This is contained in dog poo and has been traced to the footpaths over our land. When crossing our land with dogs please keep them under close control and please take your dog poo with you. That poo could fatally infect foetuses. Thank you.
A stream, fed by springs from the ridge, flows through the Estate and feeds the moat surrounding the Manor House. There are two reservoirs on the Estate: one in the northern half and one in the southern half. The one in the north was established in the 1930s. It became badly silted up over time and was completely dredged in 2010. The reservoir in the south was built in 2012 as part of a major redevelopment programme of the farm. It takes some water from the spring fed stream, but also water captured from the roofs of the farm buildings. The water from the reservoir is available to irrigate the land during extended dry spells and to wash down all areas of the farm buildings with the exception of the parlour area. In so doing we are conserving mains water supplies and reducing our operating costs.