Overview of the Leckford Estate
The Leckford Estate was purchased by John Spedan Lewis (the founder of the Partnership) in 1928 as his private estate, was converted into a limited company in 1929 and is now part of the John Lewis Partnership.
In August 2001 the Leckford Estate became part of Waitrose providing a real focus for it to produce food for the Partnership’s Food Stores under the Leckford Brand.
The Leckford Estate currently works across the following business units: Farming, Food Processing, Retail, Leisure and Events, Property Services and the Estate Office. You can find more information on each of these areas below and there’s more detail about the estate on the Leckford Estate website.
Dairy production unit: There is a long history of dairy production on the Estate and in 2007 the two existing Holstein Friesian herds were combined with a further 200 bought-in cows to give a single herd of 600 cows in the newly built Abbotts Manor dairy complex, employing eight Partners.
Forage crops: The forage area comprises about 140 hectares of forage maize for silage, 90 hectares of grass leys for silage, 70 hectares of grass leys for grazing (dairy cows), 130 hectares of permanent grass for grazing (youngstock and dry cows) and about 16 hectares of lucerne for haylage (for the dairy cows).
Fruit farm: There are approximately 20 hectares of orchards on the shallow chalk soils at Leckford, employing one Partner and producing about 300 tonnes of high quality dessert apples and pears.
The Fruit farm also encompasses the 4.7 hectare vineyard planted in 2009, with the first harvest taken in 2011 (4 tonnes making 2,500 bottles of sparkling wine).
Mushroom Farm: Around 26 tonnes of mushrooms are produced weekly from a 6 week cycle and are sold virtually exclusively (as pre-pack and loose) to Waitrose. The Mushroom Farm employs around 55 Partners.Oilseed Processing Unit: The unit was opened in September 2012 to add value to a crop that has been grown for many years on the Estate, oilseed rape. One Partner now cold presses our own rapeseed to produce cooking oil for sale in nearly all 300 Waitrose stores.Processing Dairy: Since 2002, after a complete refurbishment to ensure the highest standards of food hygiene and safety, the estate has processed some of Waitrose’s own label organic cows milk as well as own label goats milk. In total, just over 100,000 litres of milk is processed and bottled every week by eight Partners.
Quality & Technical: A team of Partners supports the Estate in the areas of farm and quality assurance, food hygiene, water quality, etc.
Fishing: A team of river-keepers maintains 11 miles of bank on the River Test. The river is divided into 16 beats, two thirds of which are let to outside fishermen and one third to Partners.Golf: A team of green-keepers look after two 9-hole courses, one developed in 1934, the Old Course, and the New Course built in 1988. In addition, the golf team manages the Leckford cricket ground and bowling green.Farm Shop and Cafe: A popular destination, the shop is the place to buy Leckford Estate produce. This is all looked after by our team of more than 20 Partners.
Longstock Park Nursery: A team of trained horticulturists sell a wide range of quality plants. The nursery and park house the national collections of Buddleja and Clematis Vitacelli.
Longstock Park Water Garden: This amenity is looked after by three gardeners and was designed and built by John Spedan Lewis. It was recently voted one of the best 100 gardens in the world. You can find out more on the Leckford Estate website.
The Property Services Team consists of seven Partners who keep the farm buildings, 98 houses and cottages as well as the local water supply system in good repair. They also provide engineering support for the commercial departments on the estate through preventative, planned maintenance as well as emergency cover.
The Estate Office is the hub of the estate and consists of six Partners: The Property and Maintenance Co-ordinator, the Purchasing and Admin Assistant, the Commercial Assistant, the Partner Co-ordination Manager and the Events Co-ordinator who are headed up by the Estate Office Manager. The Estate Office provides support to all Partners across the estate to ensure its smooth running.
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