25 years ago (February 1995) Farmer Mark Banham came to Shabden Park Farm, bringing a flock of sheep and his working dogs. The farm had been in set-aside for a number of years, overgrown with ragwort and thistle. Mark entered the valley into the first Countryside Stewardship scheme to restore the land to traditional downland pasture - 'Back to Nature'.
After the Second World War, technological advances and post-rationing initiatives encouraged intensive high-production based agriculture and many pastoral areas were ploughed up for arable crops. Intensive use of herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers reduced the wildlife value of the area dramatically and the chalk downland habitat of animals, birds, insects and plants was destroyed or seriously threatened.
Since the 1990s, government initiatives for agri-environment schemes, such as the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, have encouraged farmers to revert back to more environmentally sustainable methods of farming and food production. With the announcement in 2005 of the new, wider-reaching Environmental Stewardship scheme, farmland wildlife should benefit from more extensive farming methods like those we have been practising at Shabden Park Farm for many years.
Please stick to the public footpaths. Shabden Park Farm is a working Sheeep Farm so dogs need to be kept on a lead at all times. If you want to let your dog run free then why not visit Banstead Woods which is nearby.
Click the links below see the Surrey Interactive Map or to order the Ordnance Survey Map.