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Restoring the ancient droveway next to our bakery

We have exciting news on our environmental projects at Naish Farm, home to Honeybuns Bakery. 

Honeybuns has purchased the lane next to our site. It's an ancient part of Holwell, most likely a part of the village in medieval times and possibly much earlier.

ancient droveway lined with old oaks and wild garlic

Honeybuns has been based at Naish Farm this beautiful part of Dorset since 2002, when Emma relocated the business from Guildford. As well as adapting the old farm outbuildings to house the bakery, the acreage surrounding the bakery have been managed as a nature reserve since 2009. 

Naish Farm can trace its history back to the 15th century, with the lane next to the farm house used to move livestock. 

Illustrative map showing honeybuns commercial bakery site

In the last 500 years it was a direct route to Howell’s St Laurence Church. Cattle, farm laborers, families and Pilgrims would tread back and forth along the path. The access to the village church was lost in the Second World War. Farmers across the country were encouraged to expand their fields and plough unused land. The ghost of this path is still under hedgerows today. The lane that survives is now a tangle of curling brambles.

The Honeybuns BeeGreen team is planning to make access to the drove easier and to tidy up the lane. It will become part of our nature reserve; Graham will be busy over the winter months hedge laying along the old lane. It has many old oak trees with blankets of emerald moss over their trunks. In spring it is filled with heady scent of wild garlic. Our local woodpeckers can be spotted there. I once saw a Sparrow hawk weaving at speed through the branches. Our work will encourage our team and local walkers to explore this enchanting hidden part of our heritage. 

Ancient droveway with garlic and bluebells

The paths, holloways, lanes, shutes, bostels and grundles of Dorset are enjoying a renaissance. Robert MacFarlane’s magical book ‘Holloway’ is an account of exploring Dorset’s forgotten byways. A holloway is a quirk of Dorset. Holloway is an Anglo Saxon word 'hola weg' meaning sunken path. Over hundreds, even thousands of years flowing water and the footsteps of generations have eroded the surface. Some of these old roads are now 30 ft deep! I worked on an archaeological dig in the nearby village of Nether Compton, its Kitton Lane was likely used by the Roman garrison we were investigating. Our lane is difficult to date. I’d love to dig a test pit along it. Roman pottery has been found scattered around Holwell over the 20th Century. Our old lane will be brought back to life and feel the footsteps of generations to come.

We're aiming to restore this ancient droveway as a BeeGreen project over the coming months, to include restoring hedges, installing owl boxes and planting bulbs. We'll keep you updated here on our progress. 

Barry x

Take a look at Barry's previous musings about Honeybuns BeeGreen endeavours

If you have any questions, do get in touch via this blog in the comments section or facebook, email or telephone. 

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