The Grace family have lived at Life Hill Farm since 1958. The farm is located on the edge of the Wolds near Sledmere. It was one of the three original model farms built at the time of the enclosures by Sir Christopher Sykes, 2nd Bt. and still forms part of the Capability Brown landscape around the Sledmere Estate. Life Hill closes the principal vista to the south-west from the House. The farmhouse is of three bays with pilasters between them and coupled pilasters on the ends. Barns to the left and right form pavillions. There were two storey stables linking these barns to the house but these were replaced during the Victorian period.
Today the 500 acre farm is run by Andrew and Fay. It is an arable farm with a few sheep imported during the summer months to graze the lovely shady paddocks in front of the house. There are always a few chickens about to provide eggs for your breakfast.
In 2002, at a time when the farm was looking for other streams of income, some loose boxes at the end of the farmhouse were converted into holiday accommodation. Great effort was taken to maintain the character of the buildings but we created two lovely ensuite bedrooms. These are combined with part of the main house to form the lovely self-catering accommodation, which gives visitors to the farm the opportunity to have a little sample of country living.
On the farm we currently grow milling wheat for bread and biscuits, malting barley for beer, potatoes and peas for Birds Eye frozen peas. We grow milling wheat for bread and biscuits, malting barley for beer, potatoes and peas for birdseye frozen peas. We have the kit to allow Andrew to do most of the actual work of producing crops on his own but we also have Rudi to help out during busy periods. Our guests often marvel at the size of our tractors and the combine and like to ask Andrew what it takes to produce a tonne of Wheat or how difficult it is to stop the pigeons eating his pea plants before they get a chance to produce pods.
As well as production we put a great emphasis on the environmental management of the land and we are very proud to share the experience of seeing local wildlife at such close quarters. We have managed our hedges to improve the biodiversity of the farm land, trimming them once in two or three years in late winter to allow berries to form. This used to be a predominantly Ash landscape so we have planted more Ash and formed over thirty individual trees from suckers in the hedgerows. There is one Elm tree, a Norwegian Maple and of course the 200 year old Beeches in the paddocks near the Farmhouse. (If only they could talk!)
You could easily spend an hour or so on our tracks and grass margins and you would see brown hare, partridges, pheasants, yellow hammers and tree sparrows throughout the year. The summer months bring lapwings and skylarks in abundance but our special treat is to catch a glimpse of a family of Barn Owls nesting in one of the owl boxes we’ve put up. Our visitors have shared the moment watching the first tentative flights of young owls from the comfort of their bedroom windows!
All we ask is that you Keep your eyes and ears peeled and don’t forget to tell us what you’ve seen!