The Hardwick Estate
Organically managed and run by Sir Julian Rose, the 900 acre forestry and farming estate is a hamlet situated in the southern-most fold of the Chiltern hills, between the historic villages of Mapledurham and Whitchurch-on-Thames. Hardwick House, at the southern-most point of the Estate, is a fine Elizabethan manor set back a few hundred metres from the River Thames and surrounded by verdant wildflower meadows. The Estate’s beech woodlands rise majestically up behind the house and can be experienced via the many public Rights of Way that criss-cross the Estate.
Julian Rose became the “caretaker” of the Hardwick Estate in 1966. He began converting the land to organic farming methods in the mid 1970s, a transition that was completed in the early eighties. He has also ensured that the woodlands are sustainably managed.
The Estate reflects Julian's deep-rooted belief that an ecologically sound farming practice is essential to protecting the health and beauty of the wider countryside and the robustness of the food that comes from it. He was an early voice warning of the impending dangers of genetically modified foods, and Hardwick proudly states its "GM free zone" status. Julian’s ethos on the need to support local and regional - as opposed to 'global' food economies - remains key in his life philosophy. This is an approach coined in a formula he named "The Proximity Principle". Julian continues to raise awareness of the need to build a dynamic rural economy composed of well integrated economic, social and environmental concerns. He champions the idea of living 'human scale' communities, as opposed to large impersonal conurbations.
Hardwick Estate is home to several local businesses - see our 'Farming & Forestry' page - and also supplies sustainably managed firewood direct to your door from September to April.
With thanks to Jim Donahue & Nick Brazil for the use of their beautiful photos.
Hardwick proudly states its "GM free zone" status. Julian’s ethos on the need to support local and regional, as opposed to 'global' food economies, remains key in his life philosophy.