The Leckford Estate, Hampshire, was purchased by John Spedan Lewis of Oxford Street in 1928 as his private estate, was converted into a limited company in 1929 and is now an important part of Waitrose.
John Spedan Lewis's original vision for farming in harmony with the environment is as important at Leckford today as it was in 1928 when he first bought the estate. From managing the land and river to ensuring our lorries are used as economically as possible, Waitrose have a commitment to forward thinking, good food, good environmental practice and fair behaviour.
Best practice for best results
Waitrose is an active member of LEAF (Linking Farming and Environment) which aims to combine the best of traditional farming with modern technology, so farmers can manage their farms in an informed, professional and caring way. This means adopting the best practice principles and controls of integrated farm management, a whole farm system for efficient and profitable production that is environmentally responsible.
As farmers ourselves, we encourage biodiversity: farming in such a way that all living things - flora and fauna - co-exist on the land. This in turn reduces the need for excess chemicals. Leckford has a continuing programme of environmental initiatives that encompasses tree and hedge planting, arable margins as well as pasture and grassland management.
Experts at work
At Leckford we have one of the leading river management teams in England. Four river keepers maintain the 11 miles of river bank on the River Test that flows through the estate, with work continuing throughout the year to cut reeds and keep the water flowing clearly. The ways of the river are passed from one generation to the next, making the upkeep of the river more a way of life than a job.
Fishing for trout
A fishing lake was opened in 1997 and 16 fishing beats on the world famous River Test, one of England's classic chalk trout rivers are let to fishermen. The river is stocked with estate-reared brown trout, which are also supplied to other river and sporting lake owners.
Our transport and the environment
We believe that the future for food production lies in the needs of farmers, customers and retailers in a way that is sensitive to environmental concerns. This includes reducing our distribution costs and food miles by 'backhauling' wherever possible. Backhauling involves saving fuel by ensuring that empty space on distribution lorries is economically used on return journeys, so reducing the number of lorries on the roads. Continual monitoring of energy usage and carbon emissions is undertaken with targets set to reduce our environmental footprint.
Oil seed crops are grown for bio-diesel production. Short rotation willow coppice provides biomass for sale and use in power generation and on site use is targeted to further reduce our carbon footprint.