Such an interesting story about how the carriages at Quarry Farm were created….
Having seen Quarry Farm and it’s potential, John Eastwood contacted the owners who told him they did not want to sell so it was not until 2 years later in 1989 that he was tipped off by a friend that the owners were thinking of selling, he approached them again, this time it worked.
The farm had originally belonged to The Guinness family who had owned almost 800 acres of hops and over the years every September thousands of hop pickers from all over the country had come to spend the hop harvest at Quarry Farm. When the Eastwoods moved to to this farm, they took over the arable land, the cider apple orchards and started creating a family farm open to the public. With a restaurant, an educational centre, a steam collection and a collection of farm animals, John provided tractor rides and talks to entertain the visiting families.
As time went by John’s two sons came into the business and developed their own areas. Tim is now managing the farm and the diverse high end set of businesses they have there in their barns which are scattered all around the farm.
Nick has started very successfully a business with shepherds huts and bell tents. They are an enterprising family and everything is made by themselves. So Nick makes all the shepherds huts which are set in 5’s in various locations around the farm. The sites are mixed and they also take private tents and of course the bell tents.
Work on a Dutch Barn has been completed and they are about to open it into ‘the hub’ which will be a centre for all to use. Here guests will find a cafe-restaurant, where they can sit down and enjoy sandwiches, pastries and delicious local fare. There will be a shop selling organic local food, eggs, fresh bread and essentials and added to this will be the laundry – all about a five minute walk from the three carriages. In addition they will have a beautician in a shepherds huts.
The carriages were renovated gradually over the past 6 years. Interiors have been lovingly restored by local craftsmen and John has found historical items at a local auction house. They are perfect for 2-6 people as The Duchess has a large decking area with hot tub so there’s plenty of room for a group of friends to spend a holiday together – the best of both worlds, their own privacy and a great area for getting together over lunch or supper. All three carriages have wonderful views of Bodiam Castle.
John really understand the appeal of old fashioned charm and manners and as is happy to meet people at the station, take them on his boat and arrange catering if they don’t want to cook – a proper ‘mein host’. People can hire kayaks and go up river, they can swim, bring their dogs … it really is a fabulous peaceful haven away from the world. A boat can navigate up stream as far as Newenden and about a mile beyond the farm. There’s an oak tree on the farm, on the river’s edge that dates back centuries and is the boundary beyond which travellers used to have to pay taxes as they headed out to the sea, which is why Bodiam Castle is upstream of it!
Being proud of our Royal family, John named the first carriage The Prince Regent.
It is the oldest of the three dating back to 1890’s. The Sir Paul Gooderham is named after Paul Gooderham who was a renowned auctioneer at Chaffins in Cambridge, who John had dealt with for years, he died during the restoration so John called it after him, adding the ‘Sir’.
The Duchess was built in the 70’s and John decided he needed a ‘girl’ to go with him two men. He has bought two more, one is a carriage from the turn of the century with first, second and third class carriages which he is planning to restore this year.
The farm itself is on the far side of Bodiam village which is why the views are so wonderful, with a lovely river running through it surrounded by the family’s orchards, it’s very English, very darling buds, very idyllic.
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