Burrough Court Estate
Burrough Court is the site of a former stately home, originally built in 1905 and owned by Marmaduke Furness (1st Viscount Furness 1883-1940 and chairman of the Furness Shipping Company), who used it as a hunting estate. The house and wider estate was used by royalty, gentry, and politicians for country pursuits. Viscount Furness and his second wife, Thelma (aunt of the famous fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt), were passionate about hunting, and the grounds were developed to house animals brought back from Africa.
Today there still stands the original giraffe house and the paddock where zebra’s were ridden by the family.
Sadly the house no longer stands; being demolished following its destruction during WWII. The story goes that during its use as a military hospital for Canadians, the patients learned of the fine wine still held within the house and tried to detonate the doors to the cellar. Unfortunately the damage caused to the property was considerable; however, luckily no one lost their lives.
Today, only the stable yard, chauffeur’s and grooms’ quarters remain of the original property, along with some agricultural buildings, 1,200 acres of arable land, woodland and habitats.
The Sustainable Land Trust uses a range of facilities on the farm including office, barns, the gym, meeting rooms, and the coffee shop. The Trust uses a heritage shire horse barn (the Humboldt Centre and Craft Workshop) for its main teaching and field research space, as well as dedicated spaces and habitats around the farm - used for training and research.
The Craft Workshop
Our craft workshop is specially designed for those larger projects, whether that be making an owl box, some willow fencing, or having a go at stonemasonry.
The Centre is named after Alexander van Humboldt (1769 – 1859). Humboldt pre-dated Darwin and was the founder of the science of modern biogeography and the study of ecosystems. Throughout his life he actively supported and encouraged young scientists. The Centre aims to be a space for learning and exploration. It contains a field study area, kitchen and laboratory space and is our meeting point for most of our activities.
The Kitchen Garden
The Kitchen Garden is an important space for our volunteers and beneficiaries and it is an area designed and run by all of our users. It is where people can learn permaculture gardening techniques and where they can test ideas. All produce is organic and is given to users or made into meals, and surpluses are sold locally. We test a range of plants for their abilities to be used in cooking or craft (e.g those plants that can be found in nature and have have high nutritional values, or whose parts can provide cultural and craft benefits, for example flowers that are edible or can be used in dying).
Our Kitchen Garden is very popular with our See: Learn: Transform students who use it to learn gardening, and improve their health and mental wellbeing.
We also run small enterprises from this area, including the production of veg boxes and edible flowers for cooking.
Marefield Corner is a three acre woodland and wetland site used by the Trust to teach habitat management, ecological surveying, and outdoor rural craft skills.
Our users learn many techniques here before they can put them in practice on the wider estate or out in the community.
Until recently, it was the home to our Tamworth pigs, bred by the Trust and used for woodland management and restoration projects.
It is now home to our woodland field base, which we will use to teach sustainable building methods, by using sustainable natural materials and renewable energy.