Spains Hall Estate

We are delighted to be taking part in Agroforestry Open Weekend 2023
Our farm

We are a traditional, family-owned, farming estate in North Essex. The estate covers around 200 acres (830 hectares), with a mix of in hand and tenanted arable land, native woodland, grassland and wetlands.

On our in-hand land we are changing our land use to a balanced mix of wildlife areas, water conservation systems and permanent cropping. We are moving away from annual cropping as much as possible, with the agroforestry system providing the backbone to that change.

You can learn more about us, and what we do, on our website.

Our agroforestry

Since the 1940’s we have grown high quality cricket bat willow at low densities on our low-lying meadow land. This, plus our 19ha of hedges and 80ha of native woodland, mean we’ve probably been in the agroforestry business a while longer than perhaps we realised!

However, we are now in the process of establishing a nut and timber “eco-alley” agroforestry system. This commenced in 2022/3 with the planting of 360 walnut trees, 320 hazel and 1200 oaks we grew from seed. The planted area currently covers around 50 hectares but will (we hope) eventually grow to approximately 300 hectares.

The system is set out on a conventional 32m alley. However, instead of cropping between the tree rows we have undersown the trees with grass. The alleys between these wide rows are currently filled with a large scale stewardship scheme comprising a mix of habitat and crop types in each field. The aim being to build soil health, enhance biodiversity and slow and clean water.

Our system change is the first step in a move away from annual cropping entirely, towards a permanent tree-crop system run in balance with generation of higher quality (and profitable) environmental goods. We are also involved in delivering large scale Biodiversity Net Gain schemes in other areas of the farm.

Here are some photos of what we do:

how to find us

You will find us at Dairyley Farm, Spains Hall Road, Finchingfield, Essex, CM7 4NL

Google Maps – Spains Hall Estate

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agroforestry open weekend 2023

Over Agroforestry Open Weekend 2023 we will be open Friday 19th and Saturday 20th May. We will be running guided walking tours of the agroforestry system each day. Booking is essential.


Please book your free ticket via our online booking system.


Sorry, we don’t offer refreshments, or any facilities (there are no toilets at the farm). Instead please visit the village of Finchingfield where you will find a great choice of places to eat, drink and some public toilets at the playing fields.

This website has loads of useful information on the pubs, tea rooms and other amenities:

Public toilets are available at the Playing Fields on Stephen Marshall Avenue, Finchingfield, Braintree CM7 4LZ – map link


Parking and joining instructions will be sent out with your booking confirmation


Dogs on leads are welcome but owners must clear up after them.

disability access

Sorry, the field access and walking route are not suitable for wheelchairs, push chairs or those with reduced mobility.

more information?

Check out our socials for what are up to at the moment!