WOODHALL ESTATE

HERTFORDSHIRE

Welcome

Woodhall is a privately owned estate in rural Hertfordshire, which has been in the same family ownership for over 200 years. The estate, which centres around the 18th century house let to Heath Mount School, brings together agriculture, forestry, conservation and a wide range of village property. It is 3 miles north of Hertford within easy reach of good road, rail and air links.

Whilst retaining a unique heritage and rural charm, today the estate is run along commercial lines, letting property, grazing and shooting and hosting corporate social and charity events It is also a popular film location.

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Estate

rural estate Hertfordshire

Within easy reach of London, Woodhall is situated in the triangle between Hertford, Stevenage and Ware. Hertford and Ware are historic market towns with traditional high street shops, and Stevenage is a lively post-war new town with contemporary retailers and extensive leisure facilities. The rural villages close by are all thriving, with vibrant communities, shops, schools, churches, clubs and a health clinic providing valuable services for young and old alike.

There are many opportunities to sample the delights that Woodhall has to offer, as a tenant of one of its many let residential or commercial properties, as a grazier, as a visitor to its many events or as a walker enjoying stunning views from rights of way.

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Filming

country estate Hertfordshire

The Woodhall Estate offers endless opportunities as a location close to London for television, feature films, advertising and photographic shoots. It offers a wealth of attractive traditional buildings, a picturesque fishing lake and river banks, stunning parkland with fine and ancient trees and extensive farm and woodland.

Most recently Woodhall has been used as a location for the BBC production of Stephen Poliakoff's 'The Lost Prince', the ITV drama series 'Foyles War' and 'My Uncle Silas' by HE Bates.

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Sporting

property rentals Hertfordshire

The topography and woodland at Woodhall provide high quality shooting opportunities for pheasant, duck and deer.

Bespoke days can be arranged to suit individual requirements, whether private or corporate. Lunch can be provided on a shoot day if required and local accommodation can also be recommended. Game and venison are sold locally when in season.

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Upcoming Events

Latest News


Property to Let - 30/11/2016
Detached Grade II Listed family residence.
Available December.
For further details, please see our Property to Let page.
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Harvest 2016 - A Seasonal Update from our Farm Manager - 06/10/2016
Another harvest is over and in record time.  Most farmers in the area were finished a good week to ten days earlier than normal.
 
We started in late July with barley when the weather was a little changeable but we got the crop into the barn without having to dry it, which saves costs.  Yields were not as good as last year but this is a characteristic for barley this year as the protracted cold wet spring followed by the lack of sunshine in June led to smaller grains with a low specific weight.
 
We then moved onto oilseed rape which, again, was affected not only by the weather patterns but also by pest damage, namely the Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle which has been in the Press in recent years, as the seed dressing available to control the pest has been banned for two years and seems likely that it will go forever.  As a result, many farmers, us included, have taken the decision to not grow oilseed rape for the time being.  This was a big decision as the crop has played a vital part in the farms’ rotational cropping for at least 30 years.  As it is early to harvest it gives us a great window to turn land around ready for the following wheat crop, which is normally a good one.  It has a good long tap root which aids soil structure and condition and, although the price fluctuates, has in some years been the most profitable crop on the farm.  But there it is, we have made the decision and just like Theresa May’s Brexit proclamation, “no oilseed rape means no oilseed rape”, so we will make a go of it!  However it does mean a lot of head scratching to come up with good alternatives for rotational farming which has occupied much of my thoughts and time since harvest.
 
The weather during August was fantastic for harvest and started with oats.  We grow winter oats which are on contract with Jordans, so please keep buying their excellent breakfast products!  We have had to jump through a lot of hoops to secure this contract and we undergo a strict audit of every aspect of the farming process to qualify.  This ranges from management of resources to wildlife management protocols and we need to show that we are addressing each area and improving where necessary year on year. The incentive for us is a small premium for the oats we produce but it does also focus the mind on some aspects of the farming business that might not receive the same attention otherwise.  The oats yielded a little less than I had hoped but considering the nature of the weather they fared better than barley and OSR.
 
Wheat harvest followed and with generally pleasing quality and yields which was a relief, bearing in mind the previous crops.  It came in in record time and none of crop has required drying which represents a massive saving in electricity and fuel.
 
The last crop to be harvested is the beans.
 
We traditionally sell a proportion of our crop well before we actually harvest it.  This can be as early as the previous November or December.  If we think the price will work for us, we secure a percentage, as in a volatile market there is always a risk of lower prices going forward at levels that are below the cost of production.  We treated this year no differently and our early sales looked very sensible because, as the year progressed, prices weakened somewhat.  Then, of course, along came the vote on the EU.  The unexpected vote to leave had an effect on the exchange rate of the pound in a very short time; a weak pound normally feeds through to higher farm commodity prices and indeed in this case did just that.  Not to get too excited as the increase is modest, but every little helps.
 
Since harvest finished we have been concentrating on cultivating ground ready for next year’s crops. It has been very dry so recent rains have been helpful.  We need as many of the small seeds blown out by the combine harvester and weed seeds to germinate so they can be killed off prior to drilling the next crop.  This reduces the amount of herbicide generally required in the following crop.
We are now half way through our drilling programme and indeed some of the first crops sown are now emerging, although we would welcome a good rain to help with the slower areas.  About two-thirds of our winter wheat crop is in the ground and the winter barley, so that leaves the rest of the wheat, the oats and winter beans.  The rest of our land is designated for spring cropping, namely spring wheat, spring beans and some peas.  Some of the fields have already been cultivated and sown with a cover crop to improve soil conditions and capture nutrients that would otherwise be lost over the winter.  The fields that are due to be sown with spring beans will be left as stubble over the winter and not cultivated until mid-February. This will provide cover over the winter for birds. That just leaves the land for peas which will be ploughed later this autumn and left to weather down during the winter with frosts and rain.


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Countryside Management Services - 23/08/2016
The Countryside Management Services held their annual social event for their Practical Conservation Volunteers at the Woodhall Estate on Tuesday 16th August.

​Between them the volunteers attend in excess of 150 work parties per year, giving more than 13,000 hours of their time to improve Hertfordshire’s green spaces and public rights of way.

 The visit to Woodhall was an opportunity for them to hear about the history of the landscape, review river restoration projects on the Beane and spend time admiring the veteran oak and hornbeam trees in the Park.  After much walking and talking, the hog roast lunch was a great way to round off the morning. 


 
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property rentals Hertfordshire

Property to Let

The Woodhall Estate, situated in rural Hertfordshire, has an extensive residential and commercial property portfolio.

Its location 3 miles north of Hertford and proximity to London ensure it has good road, rail and air links. All properties are produced to a high standard and include estate houses principally in the villages of Watton-at-Stone, Stapleford, Bramfield, Tonwell and Sacombe, shops, offices, light industrial units, workshops and a livery stables.

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