Living in a medieval landscape

Bewl Rookery B&B lies in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of just forty-six in Britain. An AONB is somewhere the government has decided the landscape is so special that it needs to be protected.

Established by the 14th century this area is considered to be one of the best surviving, coherent medieval landscapes in Northern Europe and the fourth largest in the UK. Here you can still see small, irregularly-shaped and productive fields bound by hedgerows and small woodlands predominantly of medieval origin and managed historically as a mosaic of small agricultural holdings typically used for livestock grazing. Also, the ancient drovers’ routes wind their way across the landscape, deeply sunken and lined with trees and wildflowers.

This AONB is also characterised by woodland and particularly Oak trees that fuelled the medieval iron industry and provided wood for ships and major London buildings like Westminster Hall. We live in what is still one of the most tree-covered areas of England.

Another distinguishing feature of an AONB is the historic farmsteads, timber framed and built in the 17thCentury or earlier. Bewl Rookery (formerly The Colleens) itself is an historic farmstead recorded in the Heritage Environment Records. The house was built four hundred years ago and although updated its original nature has been preserved with timber frame elements in the bedrooms. The house overlooks the vast expansive of the Weald across to the North Downs and the Pilgrim’s Way, from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a view including both medieval woodland and farmsteads.

Our ten-acre field shows signs of the original boundaries of smaller fields and with recent advice from the High Weald organisation, we are planning on improving the diversity of meadow flowers, grasses and wildlife for both the environment and also for our B&B guests to enjoy our meadow walk.

We have AONB resources and Bewl Rookery Landscape Characteristics to look at and a brochure that we have written that tells the story of the house and the people who have lived here before us. We also have our Meadow Walk where you can allow yourself to sink into the landscape and drift back in time.

You can see the landscape characteristics of this area of the High Weald AONB on this Bewl Rookery Landscape Characteristics map. Bewl Rookery is written as The Colleens on this map.

Find out more about the High Weald AONB here.

 

Grasses and wildflowers on our meadow walk

 

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