Time and again, friends, family and visitors remind us that we are living and farming in one of the most beautiful parts of rural South East England. Hare Farm is a working sheep farm straddled across the Brede valley, near Rye in East Sussex. The farmyard and oast house are tucked away down a long private drive, with the farm's rolling pastures and marshland continuing down the valley and over the river. There are no roads or houses in view from your farm stay, be it the oast or the hut: just meadows, marshland, big skies and valley hills, peppered occasionally by Stuart and his border collies working the sheep.
If you are looking to stay on a farm, Hare Farm offers you one of the most awe-inspiring farm holidays in the UK. Sit back and enjoy your very own special slice of unspoilt Sussex countryside extending for miles in front of you. This is where we farm. This is where you stay and holiday. How lucky we all are.
The oast house holiday home is positioned within the traditional farmstead, with the 16th century farmhouse and a restored sussex barn on each side, and some spectacular views on the other. The more modern farm buildings are to the other side of the farmhouse, housing farm machinery and the ewes and lambs during lambing time. So your farm stay is not on the fringes but at the heart of all that goes on here.
The shepherds hut's own hideaway spot is just a couple hundred yards from the farm buildings, tucked on the edge of Chestnuts Field, shielded by some woodland and at the edge of a lake.
In being a busy working farm with machinery and animals all around, we ask you to respect fully the boundaries that go with the oast and hut. The holiday accommodation on the farm has plenty of outside space (the oast has its own half an acre plot) but if that's not enough, top it up on tap with 100s of acres of uninterrupted views to enjoy of the idyllic Brede valley and rolling Sussex countryside.
As a sheep farm, rolling pastures and marshland dominate, extending over 500 acres across both sides of the Brede valley. In partnership with Natural England, our participation in environmental stewardship schemes means that hedgerows, waterways and wild areas exist in harmony with the sheep that graze there. Enjoy these beautiful views from all aspects of your large holiday home situated at the heart of the farm.
1000 breeding ewes are farmed here, multiplied quite a lot at lambing time which typically starts mid March in the lambing sheds just a stone's throw from your holiday home at the oast. The breeding flock are a mix of home reared Suffolk X ewes and cumbrian- bred mules.
Stuart and his loyal dogs Kes, Jill and Meg spend their working lives (that's 7 days a week) lookering, lambing, shearing, tupping, drenching, dipping, buying, selling ......There's more to shepherding than you think. Ask Stuart. You will no doubt see them at work whilst on your farm stay.
In partnership with Natural England, we are committed to environmental schemes meaning that the natural world lives and thrives on the farm, alongside us, our guests and the sheep.
- Farm holidays can offer so much to observe and enjoy. At Hare Farm, look out for the silent flight of our resident barn owl (living and breeding annually in the Sussex barn) as he passes the oast and heads down the valley for prey. A regular daily ritual.
- With many watercourses throughout the farm (lakes, rivers, ditches, marshes), many species of birdlife thrive here, including herons, warblers...
- The rare red kite and other predatory birds such as the buzzard enjoy the profusion of feed here in the form of pheasants, voles...
The driveway down to the farm is a very special place. It's a Site of Special Scientic Interest (SSS1), designated such when ancient reptile teeth were found from the Jurassic era. We've not found them yet ourselves (don't dare look), but do enjoy the flora that loves the cool damp conditions down through this cutting. Orchids in the spring are there for all to find.
Hop Picking Years
Until 1970 Hare Farm's main farming enterprise was hops. Hop gardens and orchards were scattered around the farmstead and the most important farm building was the oast house where the hops were dried and stored. In its "hey day" Hare Farm was home to 100 hop pickers for 8 weeks from late August. The hop pickers themselves viewed their times at Hare Farm as very special farm holidays. We have had the privilege to meet some of the hop pickers when coming back to visit the farm. Tony has kindly written us his memories of the hop season here