Banstead’s Lavender Fields

Open from June to September, Banstead lavender fields are one of the most picturesque spots in the country. Known for their therapeutic properties, the purple perfumed flowers that fill the 25-acre field draw visitors from across the country.

By Raman Sandhu

Historically, the lavender fields of Wallington, Carshalton, Croydon, Mitcham and Banstead were suppliers to the world. This aromatic herb was the main produce for the North Downs area. The chalky soil and mild weather proved the perfect conditions in which to grow this small evergreen shrub.

Throughout the growing season, the fields are hand-weeded. A number of volunteers and inmates of HMP Downview prison work together to re-establish the once thriving industry. As the farmers don’t use chemical pesticides or fertiliser to manage the crops, the organic nature of farming lavender can be a real challenge. Weed management is especially testing.

Harvesting in Carshalton begins in the second week of July and is usually a very festive occasion. The majority of the lavender is harvested by machine then sent to the distillers. The resultant oil is then sold to local companies to be used in toiletries and beauty products.

Lavender oil has a huge range of uses due to its soothing properties. Used in aromatherapy massaging, mixed into a warm bath, or as a sleep remedy, lavender’s healing and calming properties are known and loved. It is also a wonderful homoeopathic medicine, used to treat minor burns, insect stings and cuts.

At the farm, visitors can enjoy a delicious lunch or snack at the relaxed, al fresco café. There are also lavender bunches and plants available to purchase as well as products including toiletries and culinary treats.

The lavender farm is open every day until August 31, from 9 am to 6 pm. The last entry time for cars is 5.45 pm, but there are limited parking spaces available on site. Entry is usually £4 per person and is free for children aged 16 and under. Tractor rides are also available at £2 per person. Dogs are allowed on the farm but must be kept on a lead at all times. Owners must also pick up any dog mess. Visitors are not allowed to bring picnics or use drones.

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